We have all seen it – the shapeless figure in black that some Muslim women choose to become as go out in public covered from head to toe in a burqa or niqab that effectively obscures not only their identity but in many cases, their gender.

Now, as Europe faces continued assault on its traditional values and ability to safeguard its citizens, Denmark will become the latest country to take a stand against the wearing of such clothing.

The debate among parties in the Danish parliament has not centered entirely around the religious aspects of the long, black garment that some Muslims believe protects the modesty of women, but has also addressed the belief that the requirement that women adopt such a manner of dress is actually oppression of women.

The terms are often confusing for non-Muslims – the niqab covers the face, but not the eyes, and the burqa is a body covering with a piece of netting that provides a slit for the wearer to see.

Western countries are struggling with finding a balance that respects tradition and religious freedom while making it possible to carry out legal functions, such as issuing driver’s licenses with photographs that show the face of the bearer.

Denmark would not be the first country to impose restrictions on Muslim women who wear the garments – Belgium, Bulgaria, France, and the Netherlands have done so, placing bans on them in public places.

Norway has proposed a ban on face-coverings in kindergartens, schools, and universities.

“This is not a ban on religious clothing, this is a ban on masking,” Jacob Ellemann-Jensen, spokesman for Denmark’s Liberal Party, told reporters as his party, the largest in the coalition government, endorsed the ban.

“There will come a masking ban in Denmark. That’s how it is,” Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen of the Liberal Alliance told supporters, indicating a change in his party’s stand in opposition to the ban, adding that any restriction would need “to be practically possible… without betraying ourselves or our own values.”

The country’s parliament continues to grapple with how the ban will be enforced as it treads the fine line between religious freedom and public safety.

Do you feel Muslim women should be required to show their faces in public or be allowed to cover them with traditional veils?

Source: Daily Mail

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