Equal opportunity watchdogcalls for tolerance in veil debate
23 January 2004
BRUSSELS – A key Belgian equal opportunities watchdog has called for more tolerance in the increasingly fractious debate around whether girls should wear Muslim headscarves at school.
The council for equal chances between men and women (CECMW) said it was vital to listen to the views of Muslim women and girls who wear veils.
The state should not “put any artificial obstacles in the way” of women who wear veils as a sign of their freedom, the organisation added.
In some cases, hajibs allow women to remain integrated into their communities while building lives in wider society, the CECMW argued.
But the organisation added that the state should quickly come to the aid of women or girls forced to wear hajibs against their will.
In recent weeks a number of leading Belgian politicians have called for a ban on Muslim veils in state schools.
In France, the government is already trying to persuade parliament to adopt just such a ban.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Belgian news