Some Constitutional Thoughts About the Islamic Full Veil Ban in Europe
Vienna Journal of International Constitutional Law, Forthcoming
42 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2013 Last revised: 28 Aug 2013
Date Written: April 30, 2013
This work deals critically with the Islamic full veil ban in public spaces, that is starting to be adopted in some European countries and has found echo in some regulations of Spanish municipalities. After a brief analysis of the general bans recently passed in Belgium and France and of the partial bans adopted in schools by other countries, like Germany, Italy or the UK, the article analyses from a constitutional perspective, which includes the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, the constitutionality of the recently approved municipal bans in Spain. The author reaches the conclusion that according to the Sp. Const. 1978 an adequate interpretation of the limitations to the freedom of religion and the right to one’s own image, involved when wearing an Islamic full veil, would make unconstitutional a general ban on the full veil in each and every public space, but would allow its partial ban regarding the access to municipal buildings or services or regarding teachers and pupils at schools, as far as these partial bans could be justified by constitutional values like safeguarding of public institutions or services, or protecting the fundamental rights of others.
Keywords: constitutional law, fundamental rights, freedom of religion, establishment clause, one’s own image, Islamic full veil, Burqa, constitutional comparative law, European Union
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