Can and Should Burqas Be Banned? - The Legality and Desirability of Bans of the Full Veil in Europe and Australia

Alternative Law Journal, Vol. 36, No. 1, pp. 16-20, 2011

U. of Adelaide Law Research Paper No. 2012-07

6 Pages Posted: 16 May 2012 Last revised: 31 Aug 2012

See all articles by Anne Hewitt

Anne Hewitt

University of Adelaide - School of Law

Cornelia Koch

University of Adelaide - School of Law

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

The last two decades have seen growing debate in many countries about the appropriateness of displaying religious symbols in the public sphere. Much discussion has focused on the wearing of religiously inspired dress and in particular Islamic dress. The latest chapter in this saga are attempts to ban in public the burqa and niqab, clothing worn by some Muslim women which covers the face.

The primary focus of this article is not on the merits, or otherwise, of these arguments. Instead it examines whether legislative bans in a number of jurisdictions would be able to withstand challenges in court. First, we consider the developments in Europe, with particular emphasis on France and Belgium where the most concrete steps towards banning the burqa and niqab have been taken and examine whether enacted or proposed legislation will withstand scrutiny under the European Convention on Human Rights (‘ECHR’). We discuss in the second part whether similar bans could be validly enacted in Australia and show that the only legal protection in this jurisdiction is domestic anti-discrimination law.

Keywords: equality, religious discirmination, burqa, niqab, islamic dress, European Court of Human Rights, head scarf

Suggested Citation

Hewitt, Anne and Koch, Cornelia, Can and Should Burqas Be Banned? - The Legality and Desirability of Bans of the Full Veil in Europe and Australia (2011). Alternative Law Journal, Vol. 36, No. 1, pp. 16-20, 2011, U. of Adelaide Law Research Paper No. 2012-07, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2060796

Anne Hewitt (Contact Author)

University of Adelaide - School of Law ( email )

Ligertwood Building
Adelaide 5005, South Australia SA 5005
Australia

Cornelia Koch

University of Adelaide - School of Law ( email )

Ligertwood Building
Adelaide 5005, South Australia SA 5005
Australia
+61 (0)8 8303 5713 (Phone)
+61(0)8 8303 4344 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/directory/cornelia.koch

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