The French rolled the dice when they banned burkas in 2011 and soon, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany followed. Denmark has become the latest European country to restrict full-face veils, making it unlawful for Muslim women to wear burkas and niqabs in public. Those who do will be fined.
In their legislature however, they don’t point to Muslim women in particular – it says anyone who hides their face with a garment will be punished with a law. But the world sees it for what it is – a dictate to tell women what they can or cannot wear. The lawmakers are arguing that the veil is a form of oppression of women and covering faces is not a part of Danish culture. Ironically, telling a woman what she can and cannot do is oppression. The whole situation also reeks of religious intolerance towards Islam, and the world seem to be looking the other way while states are discriminating against one religion. It’s also been termed as state racism.
Denmark has banned the wearing of face veils in public, joining France and other parts of Europe in outlawing the burqa and the niqab worn by some Muslim women. https://t.co/uoVcIII1JB via @NBCNewsWorld
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 1, 2018
About 200 women in Denmark wear burkas and niqabs. The number is too small for any state to think of cultural exclusion of veiled women in the society. On the other hand, it is being argued that these bans are dividing Muslims from non-Muslims and creating a bigger problem than this invented one.
In these European countries, women who haven’t surrendered their burkas have shut themselves in and they are afraid to leave their homes. Nope, not the liberation that this move was being marketed as.
In 2016, the former UK Prime Minister David Cameron agreed that people should be allowed to wear whatever they want. While they do need to show their faces when authorities demand it (in courts and on the border), he didn’t feel the need for a public ban.
It’s someone’s choice to wear a burka, or not to wear a burka. The moment you dictate to a woman what she can’t do, you are, in fact, losing the war against discrimination. If we really want to empower women, we need to let them make their own choices. The government, for sure, overreached their bounds. They need to be more respectful to minorities, but more than anything else, they need to respect the choices of the women in their country. Let them take care of their clothing; leave their wardrobe to them; and allow them the freedom that they deserve. It's not asking much, is it?
To quote a wise woman, her business is her business; none of your business!