Should UK Ban Covering of Faces in Public Places – Including Muslim Veil?

Should UK Ban Covering of Faces in Public Places – Including Muslim Veil?

The Swiss agency ATS announced on June 9 that the full Muslim veil (the burka and the hiqab) will be forbidden in Austria in public places beginning October 1, 2017. 

Indeed, the integration law voted in mid-May by the parliament stipulates that any violation of the ban on the full veil will be punished by a fine of up to 150 euros. The law also requires all refugees and asylum-seekers to sign a one-year “integration contract” that includes language classes, civic classes, skills assessment, and preparation for integration.

The president of the Republic, Alexander Van der Bellen, promulgated the text on June 9, explaining that “it is not a good law”. Whereas the social democrat (SPÖe) chancellor Christian Kern declared during his presentation: “We have accepted to forbid the full-face Muslim veil. This agreement has not been easy for us. There are pros and cons, but a coalition has to find a way to work together.” “We believe in an open society that is also based on open communication”, declared the Social Democrat (SPÖe) and Conservative (ÖVeP) coalition on this interdiction.

The minister of Foreign Affairs, Sebastian Kurz, leader of the conservative party ÖVeP since mid-May, ignited a controversy in the beginning of the year when he suggested going further than just forbidding the full-face veil, and banishing the veil for public service employees.

The first European country to forbid the full-face veil in public places was France with a law promulgated in October 2010, then applied starting in April 2011, that “forbids hiding one’s face in a public place”, with a 150€ fine. There have been 1,600 infractions since. Belgium followed in 2011 and Bulgaria in September 2016. At the end of April, the German deputies decided to forbid the full-face veil for government officials, and oblige persons with their faces hidden to uncover them in the case of identification verification. In Switzerland, only the canton of Ticino has forbidden the burka in public places since July 2016, following a popular vote.  Source


I must confess, I’m more concerned about the “hoodies” among us – usually teenage boys who may hide their faces in order to get away with crimes, including  physical assault.  Legislation to ban “hoodies” then, gets my vote. 

Religious dress,  though, or, more accurately, cultural dress albeit associated with a particular religion, is a bit different. Much as I find it perplexing that any woman would choose to be covered up from head to toe, I don’t see it in  quite the same category.  I can see the arguments for banning the full Muslim veil in public places although I recognise that there are “civil liberties” and other arguments against the ban.

Convince me, one way or the other… To ban or not to ban?  That is the question…

Comments (17)

  • Lily

    I definitely think the hoodies should be banned, although I think it would be difficult to implement.

    As for the burka and hijab, though, I’m not so sure. I think it would lead to civil unrest and maybe serious problems up and down the UK.

    Then, what about priests and nuns? Would the clergy have to stop wearing the collar in public, or bishops their chains of office, and religious who still have a habit, would they have to stop wearing that in public? I think it’s probably too difficult to ban religious clothing in public, but hoodies, yes, if it can be done. There have been some serious crimes committed that will likely never be solved because the criminals wore hoods.

    July 22, 2017 at 5:24 pm
    • Faith of Our Fathers

      Lily come on give us a Break . There are lots of problems with Muslims and Burkas Etc . Also I do not know if you like to visit and have a swim in your local PUBLIC swimming pool . Av seen Muslim women more or less walk off the street and into the pool . Now I personally couldn’t give 2 monkeys what they wear in Pakistan Afghanistan or even Londonstan but comparing a Priests collar to the Full Muslim Burka is not even close.

      July 22, 2017 at 7:39 pm
      • editor


        I think Lily was referring to the legislation – that it may be framed to prohibit all religious dress, although it doesn’t say that about the Austrian legislation.

        July 22, 2017 at 7:52 pm
  • RCAVictor

    Some businesses over here, esp. banks, already prohibit the wearing of hoodies inside their establishments, but of course that doesn’t help if the criminal is committing his crime on the street.

    As for this law prohibiting the full Muslim veil, it strikes me as a futile attempt to promote “integration,” when it is well known that the vast majority of religious Muslims have no intention of integrating, but rather to expand their population in formerly Christian countries until they can achieve Sharia law.

    I suspect this a sop to appease the restless natives who are beginning to raise Cain about the tidal wave of Muslim immigrants, and that it will be poorly-enforced, if enforced at all, or quickly overturned.

    July 22, 2017 at 5:44 pm
    • Josephine

      RCA Victor,

      You are spot on about the Muslims. They don’t seem to want to integrate, or at least a lot of them don’t, which is why they want to keep their separate dress code etc. I don’t see the point in banning the burka and hijab. I think it would be counter productive and lead to the victim mentality even more, with shouts of “Islamophobia”.

      However, hoodies are definitely a danger and they should be banned. I didn’t know that banks and other businesses in America prohibited them, so that is good, but it’s on the streets, really, especially a night, that they are a danger over here.

      July 22, 2017 at 6:27 pm
  • Faith of Our Fathers

    Comment deleted. Off topic.

    July 22, 2017 at 7:44 pm
  • Vianney

    I must admit that I haven’t seen many hoodies on the street but I would be in favour of a ban on the full face veil. There is nothing in their religion that requires a Muslim woman to hide her face and how do we know who is behind the veil? When my great nephew had just started school the teacher would come out to the playground at the end of the day to make sure that the people picking up children were known to them. There was a woman dressed from head to toe in black and with her face hidden who came to collect her son. Teacher would say to the child “who’s that?” and the child would reply “mum” and off he’d go but I often thought that it could be anyone turning up to collect the child and nobody would be the wiser. Once, on an Edinburgh bus, a woman got on with only her eyes showing and showed her pass. The driver asked her to remove the veil and she refused. He said “I don’t know that you are the person in the photo, so either show your face or get off the bus.” She got off and the driver got a few “well done driver” from the passengers on the bus.

    July 23, 2017 at 12:27 am
    • Frankier


      Well done to the lady who got off the bus. At least she had principle.

      I wonder if the driver would have had the same courage if a couple of
      “hoodies” had boarded.

      July 23, 2017 at 1:58 pm
  • Frankier

    Definitely no ban.

    Who would be next in line? Santa Claus with too much facial hair?

    How much crime has been committed in Austria by people using this fashion as a mask?

    This would only be the thin edge of the wedge. What next? Priests being only allowed to perform the miracle of transubstantiaton in shorts and bare feet to show that there was no jookery pokery?

    if a colony of nudists walked through the streets of Vienna nobody would bat an eyelid.

    Leave well alone, I say. Any wee boy will recognise his mother even if she came to collect him at school during a blackout. The sound of her voice should be enough.


    July 23, 2017 at 1:49 pm
  • Michaela

    I don’t think a ban on Muslim dress is a good idea, although I do think there are occasions when people should have to show their face, as in schools, for example, when teaching or being an assistant to teachers.

    I’ve never seen a doctor or nurse with the full veil but that would definitely be a case of having to remove it. If I found myself faced with a doctor or nurse and couldn’t see their faces, I would ask for another medical member of staff. It would be unnerving to speak to someone in that full dress.

    As for the hoodies, I have no patience with this fashion. I have even seen balaclavas sold in shops! What are they thinking of! If it is worn due to cold weather and an individual is walking along the street, that would be one thing, but a group of young boys dressed in hoods, would, again, unnerve me. I don’t see how it could be dealt with through the law, though, but as a good will gesture they should be encouraged not to frighten people by dressing like that, at least late at night.

    July 23, 2017 at 6:37 pm
  • RCAVictor

    I think a better idea than banning Muslim veils would be to mandate that sermons (or whatever you call the Muslim equivalent) preached in mosques be broadcast on public airwaves, so that authorities can tell which imams are promoting terrorism, Sharia law, etc. That would mean that Christian sermons would have to be broadcast too, but then we traditionalists could more easily monitor which priests are following Pope Francis’ scandalous example, and which ones are teaching the real Faith!

    July 23, 2017 at 10:46 pm
  • Athanasius

    I think a ban on the particular Muslim dress in question is perfectly sound and should be implemented everywhere with immediate effect. I also think the same ban should apply to hoodies or any other article of clothing that hides the faces of individuals.

    The burka and hijab are not traditional Muslim dress for women, they were introduced in more modern times by extreme elements within Islam that view women as second class citizens. There is no religious symbolism or purpose behind any of it and it should be stopped, if only for the clear security risk such dress could potentially give rise to. The idea that banning these forms of dress in public would be an assault on Islamic belief is a fallacy. It would be a positive step in stamping out extremism within Islam.

    If I can’t walk into a bank or airport with my head covered then why should exemptions be made for Muslims under the pretext that their religion demands it. That’s just utter nonsense.

    July 24, 2017 at 1:42 am
    • Petrus


      You are spot on. This lunacy started in Saudis Arabia in modern times to suit a political agenda, latching on to Islam to make to sound respectful and obligatory. Women in Pakistan etc never cover their face.

      July 24, 2017 at 8:39 am
    • westminsterfly

      Exactly. I agree. A full ban should take place immediately. Also, it is divisive. When I worked in an office which had quite a few female muslims in it, I remember that one of them – who never covered up at all and was bare-headed and completely westernised in dress – started covering up immediately after the 9/11 atrocity. It caused a lot of unrest in the office – the non-muslim women seemed particularly aggrieved – as it was perceived, rightly or wrongly, as a political act. Solidarity with the attackers, that type of thing. When asked, the member of staff concerned said that her husband had told her that she must start covering her head. Says it all really.

      July 24, 2017 at 9:38 am
  • Pat McKay

    As I recall, there was a hue and cry about Muslim ‘wimmin’ having to pass through security scanners at airports and elsewhere.

    Who the hell do they think they are, that everyone else should just capitulate to their half-witted ‘religious sensitivities’ and make allowances in their case?

    No scan, no fly. No exceptions.

    July 24, 2017 at 11:41 am
  • gabriel syme

    In principle, I don’t like the idea of the Government dictating what is suitable attire, but then this extreme form of muslim dress is something out of the ordinary.

    Our indigenous culture has traditionally associated the hiding of one’s face with dishonesty / secrecy / bad intentions. There are already rules in place which (for example) prohibit entering a bank or shop whilst wearing a motorcycle helmet, precisely for reasons of openness and transparency. It is difficult to see a good or honest reason to desire to hide one’s face completely.

    And we know there have been several cases of men caught wearing full burqas in an effort to escape Police or custom officers’ attention. Several ISIS fighters were recently caught done-up like this in Syria – judging by the news pictures, they were about as convincing as “Caitlin” (Bruce) Jenner.

    The burqa / full covering is like putting up walls to the rest of society. It prevents even basic communication between the wearer and others. Facial expressions are a large part of unspoken communication too.

    The burqa is traditionally the product of some dysfunctional Islamic cultures which treat women like cattle, but I think the choice to wear such in a western culture is very much a public statement of ideology, as well as a way of showing disdain for the culture and other residents within it (as if it is beneath the wearer’s dignity to properly / openly engage with society).

    Islam only requires unspecified “modest dress” from its adherents, therefore there is no genuine religious reason for women to wear full coverings. I once worked with 2 muslim women who wore hijabs (head coverings) to work and these allowed them to adhere to a notion of modesty, but one which did not interfere with communication or relationships. You could not ever have met two nicer, more down-to-earth, well educated and professional women.

    Ultimately while I dislike the idea of the Government sticking its nose into personal choices, I would support a ban on burqas.

    July 24, 2017 at 12:37 pm
  • praesentia

    No need to fine women wearing the Burka. It they don’t want to be part of society then society does not need to pay their benefits.

    August 19, 2017 at 7:08 pm

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