Europe's top court upholds Belgian full-face veil ban

The European Court of Human Rights has upheld a Belgian ban on the public wearing of the full-face veil. The case was brought to the court by two Muslim women who said the ban violated their rights.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled unanimously on Tuesday that Belgium's ban on the wearing of the full-face veil did not violate rights standards.

The court ruled that the ban sought to ensure the conditions of "living together" and the "protection of the rights and freedoms of others." It also found the measure was "necessary in a democratic society."

Belgium implemented a ban on clothing totally or partially covering the face in June 2011. Violators can face fines and, in the case of repeat offenders, imprisonment.

Read more: Germany bans face veils for civil servants 

A Belgian national and a Moroccan national challenged the ban in 2013, arguing that among other things it was discriminatory and violated their rights to freedom of religion and expression.

France in 2011 also banned the wearing of the niqab in public places. In making its decision, the ECHR relied on an earlier 2014 ruling that upheld the French ban.

Read more: Dutch lawmakers endorse limited burqa ban

The court found among other things Belgium "had sought to respond to a practice that it considered incompatible, in Belgian society, with social communication and more generally the establishment of human relations, which were indispensible for life in society."

It also said that the Belgian state had the right to protect interactions between individuals to ensure a functioning democratic society. "The question of whether the full-face veil was to be accepted in the Belgian public sphere was a thus a choice of society," the court said, noting that there was much debate in society and parliament before the ban went into effect.

Lifestyle

Jeans in East Germany

In the beginning, jeans were frowned upon in East Germany. "No entrance with jeans" was written at the doors to many clubs. And some students were actually sent home if they appeared in class wearing jeans. In the end, the regime had to give in and party leader Erich Honecker is said to have ordered a million Levi's in order to meet the demand in the country.

Lifestyle

The fez in Turkey

Until the 1920s, the fez was a common piece of headgear in Turkey. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the founding of Turkey, President Atatürk did not want to see the hat in public because it was considered a symbol of old times. In the 1930s, the fez almost completely disappeared. The ban still exists today, but is no longer enforced.

Lifestyle

The kilt in Scotland

Nowadays it is an inseparable part of Scotland. But the kilt was banned for some time in the 18th century by the English. They didn't like that the Scots wore the traditional skirt as a sign of resistance and patriotism in ever burgeoning feuds with London. In 1747, the government introduced a kilt ban that lasted 37 years.

Lifestyle

Lingerie in Russia

Still prohibited in Russia is underwear containing less than six percent cotton. That means lingerie made of lace, velvet or silk. The law has been in force for two years. The official reason is that high synthetic content is bad for people's health. More likely, however, is that the measure is meant to keep foreign imports out. Until then, most lingerie sold in Russia was made abroad.

Lifestyle

Hoodies in the US and UK

At least in some places, wearing so-called hoodies is prohibited. For example, in the Bluewater shopping center in Kent. There you can still buy hoodies, but wearing them was forbidden 10 years ago. In the US, many schools already banned the hoodie from the classroom, and in the state of Oklahoma a Republican senator wanted to prohibit it completely.

Related Subjects