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Debates on veil across Europe: Are really cultural, religious rites threats for anyone?

Countries around Europe have grappled with the issue of the Muslim veil – in different forms such as the ‘niqab’ and the body-covering burka which envelops the face apart from the eyes. The debate takes in secular traditions, religious freedom, female equality, and even fears of terrorism linked directly with the hijab.

The veil issue is part of a wider debate about multiculturalism in Western countries, as many politicians and people argue that there requires being a greater effort to absorb ethnic and religious minorities.

Vile or Hijab

The hijab is usually a scarf that covers the head and neck, while the niqab is a veil for the face that leaves the area around the eyes clear. Commonly, vile or hijab is an Arabic word meaning barricade or partition; it is the attitude and principle of modesty and includes behavior as well as dress for both females and males.

The most observable form of hijab is the head covering that various Muslim women wear. In a popular school of Islamic thought, Vile refers to the full cover of everything apart from the hands, face and feet in long, loose and non-see-through garments.

History

The hijab is usually attributed to Muslims, but if we look at history, it has been used since ancient times as women were instructed to cover their heads when leaving the houses.

Women in the Muslim World, ed. Lynn Reese, 1998 As Islam reached other lands, regional practices, including the covering of the faces of women, were accepted by the early Muslims. Yet it was merely in the second Islamic century that the face veil became general, first used among the powerful and rich as a status symbol.

Hijab provides a sense of security

Women have been prearranged with the greatest respect and highest status in Islam. Hijab is not just a dress code, it implies something deeper. It is first and foremost an instruction from Allah. Thus, wearing it is an act of faith and compliance to the creator.

Hijab does not signify that you are not similar to other Women. It means that you choose to put aside yourself from other social evils. Hijab gives a sense of security to a lady. It boosts her confidence because she knows that she is well covered and can move around effortlessly in areas that are congregated by male counterparts. In essence, Hijab gives women physical, spiritual peace and harmony.

Latest debate

The ban on the hijab is once again the subject of debate in Europe. A referendum is set to be held in Switzerland tomorrow in which public opinion will be taken on the ban on the niqab, according to a survey by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. One percent voted in favor of the ban, while 47 percent voted against it.

The billboard is part of a drive by the far-right Swiss People’s Party (SVP) to forbid face coverings in public places and which will be voted on in a binding national referendum on March 07. Opinion polls propose most Swiss will back it and the ban will become law.

Ban on vile across Europe

The hijab ban was first introduced in France in 2010. By law, people are not allowed to wear the burqa or any other clothing in public, with France being the first European country to ban the hijab. In Spain, burqas and niqabs were banned from municipal buildings in Barcelona in 2010. Similar sanctions have been imposed by several other cities in Catalonia.

Like France, Belgium introduced a law in 2012 banning the burqa or any clothing that obscures a person’s identity in public. According to the law, Violators were fined 380 euros and jailed for up to seven days.

In Austria, the ruling coalition agreed in January 2017 to prohibit full-face veils in public spaces such as courts and schools, with the law coming into force in October the same year. 

In Italy, several towns have local barred on face-covering veils. The north-western town of Novara is one of several limits the government has already brought in rules to deter public use of the Islamic veil.

Why is the world afraid?

The history of hijab is very old and in every religion, women are urged to wear hijab but in Europe, religious values are targeted with regard to hijab, anti-Islamic measures are increasing day by day in Europe.

Article 27 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the right of every person to participate freely in the cultural life of a nation, but ironically, the Western world is not ready to recognize the “cultural identity” of any nation. Muslims around the world are especially urged to renounce everything related to their faith, religion and culture and accept the Western-imposed culture anyway.

There is a need to promote interfaith harmony by bridging the gap between religions in order to foster an atmosphere of peace and stability in the world and to ensure respect for religious rites instead of being bothered by hijabs and beards so that real peace can be established in the world.