The Muslim Veil in Europe

Much has been written about the Muslim veil recently. All across Europe debates are raging, concerning issues such as the freedom of religion, the freedom to wear whatever one wants, security and integration.

However, in many news stories I have read, I see a confusion as to what is being discussed.

I was once asked why I call it a "veil", when I really should be calling it a "headscarf". My answer was simple, I call it a veil because that's the regular term used, specifically on Muslim sites.

This article comes to give a simple explanation of the different types of veil and a run down of what's happening across Europe. I hope to keep it updated as things change.

The following pictures are taken from the BBC site, which brings an example of the different types of veil.

The hijab, which leaves the face uncovered.

The niqab which only leaves the eyes uncovered, and the burqa, which covers everything.


Burqa banned in public.


The hijab is banned in public schools.
The burqa/niqab is banned in public.


On going debate.


North League proposes burqa ban.
Burqa banned in some cities.


Parliament pushes to ban the wearing of the burqa. PVV party wants referendum. Currently in discussions in the government.


Niqab banned in schools in Oslo


Several cities banned the burqa.
No national school headscarf policy.


Gov't minister wants to ban hijab for girls under 15.
Niqab/Burka can be banned in schools. National Agency for Education affirms the right to wear a veil.


Ongoing debate.

Last updated: Oct. 26, 2011


Anonymous said...

I don't understand ehy these people want to take from us(Muslimahs)a very important part of our religion. The Cathlic Church hasn't been told to uncover their women(Nuns).Or told to allow their Priest to marry inorder to stop sexual abuse in their community. What is the threat of us wearing the covering of our way of life when we venture outside our homes? I don't get it!!! I am American Muslimah born here, 62 years old,I love my country and the freedom it allows the people, The freedom it gives me and others to walk and dress in our religious garments.Anyone who has a problem with my home land(America).They should step back and take a good look around the world And see that America is the best country in the world when it comes to personal freedoms.

Anonymous said...

Yes, America is the best country in the world when it comes to personal freedoms and we plan to keep it that way. It's not your dress we reject, it's your religious laws that declare Islam is the solution and that everone else is inferior and must assimilate. As a Christian, I am not allowed to walk into my workplace, let alone a mosque wearing a 'Jesus Reigns' t-shirt or bring a bible, but I have to tolerate Muslims being granted the right to publically display their religion? I don't think so. God bless America.

Anonymous said...

As neither a Muslim or a Christian, I wanted to comment on something the last anonymous posted..... "it's your religious laws that declare Islam is the solution and that everone else is inferior and must assimilate. " I found this comment to be very hypocritical. I have a lot of Christian friends as well as a couple of muslim friends. I have talked to religion with both of them, and the end result is usually the Christian friends tell me I'm going to hell, or that they're just frustrated that I can't see "their way" and that they're only trying to help me/save me. When I talked with my two muslim friends, I explained my view on religion, that morals are the most important aspect, and what does it matter what's the right religion, and they agreed that morals are very important, but they believe and their religion as well though. And as a Christian, are you required to wear a 'Jesus Reigns' t-shirt? And you can definitely bring a bible in to the workplace, trying to talk to others about it during the work day is a different matter. And your not allowed to publicly display religion? What does that cross mean that everyone likes to wear on necklaces? I dont see any problem with Muslims being alowed to wear the basic Hijab, other students are allowed to wear baseball caps and such.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing, isn't it, that intelligent people ( Politicians) plot the basis of their own demise, and even that of their grandchildren. They have some belief that no matter what they do or how they do it, all will finally bleach out in the wash and vindicate them. Really deep thinkers! They believe that the country is so vast (UK& USA) they can hide from the consequences of their actions. The British thought (think) this too (Thanks Tony. To bad you didn't stick around for the big bang. IT WAS IN YOUR HONOR) AND THEIR actions nearly resulted in a holocaust. I suppose when London is toast they might wake up. Probably not. A politician would blame it on Global Warming. We know and the Muslims know that they wear their costumes because it is in our face! It is form of jihad, a dare! A non violent and non-indictable atrocity for which many of their commrads are guilty of! A silent threat. Read my AOL journal 'The Next Holocaust' Good copy.

Anonymous said...

The bbc is just an islamic promoter, We used to have very little mention about any religion not that i call islam one. studying what has gone by over the past few years it's plain to see that it is mainly a political movement no accident it follows the line of Hitler.
When seeing females wearing the burka behind the wheel of a car it's akin to allowing the blind to drive.
When towns across the UK are split with the ordinary brits on one side and the burka clad women and bearded white garb of the males it's a reminder that islam is an expansionist ideology living in no go areas for anyone not a believer but just a lowly Kafr.
Blair and co have ruined this nation.
with their cultural marxist rules
slowly but surely turning the UK into an islamic sharia implenting state.

Nuns today very rarely wear anything other than normal day wear.
Abuse is not domain of RC priests'
we have an huge problem mostly ignored by the authorities { police and social services }
of men of all ages mainly above 25 years from the muslim community. driving young girls. ages from around eleven up onto the moors of Yorkshire and Lancashire to ply them with drugs and alcohol then to have sex passing these children around to men much older.
America, a Huge country this won't yet be noticed but for sure it's taking place this occurs across Europe as well mainly Sweden and Norway.
Freedom should be a two way street but i'm afraid that no longer applies at this side of the pond,
When anyone complains at all guess which country gets the blame?
America! Al-taqqyi is the one part of islam all peoples and politicians across the western world should research.
RC kids in School are told to remove their tiny cross it may offend muslims, without a thought that burkas offend almost every non muslim here.
The qu'ran does not mention the wearing of the burka at all only modest dress.
The last time that i saw sand was on a visit to Blackpool before we had to install muslim prayer rooms.
Therefore sand getting into ones eyes is not the problem is it?
No sand storms no requirment for the burka.
Were it a way of life, why only wear it out of doors?
You get it alright, i assure you we do now!

Anonymous said...

I find that European policies on the restrictions against the wearing of Muslim head coverings are contradictory of the western political philosophy of thhe separation between the church and state. (However I do not think this was entirely accomplished; maybe physically but not ideologically). Cardinal Renato Martino made a comment saying that immigrants need to "respect the traditions, cultures and religions of nations thhey go to." (BBC News) This seems contradictory because it would seem that such a statement disrespects religious freedom of Islamic peoples. I do not see how the use of head coverings disrespects others in any way. Such statements like the one made by Cardinal Martino displays intolerance and therefore disrespect for Islamic traditions. It is not the freedom of practicing religious and cultural traditions that create social distance but instead the state policies that prevent them. Cultural intolerance, which is disrespect, towards another group does not belong in state policy making. Intolerant ideologies are what create ethnic cleansing and genocide, along with other negative racial issues. By manifesting them into state policy we trigger social indifference. This was revealed with Hitler during WW2, when cultural intolerance entered national policymaking, hence the occurence of thhe Holocaust. I do believe in cultural relativism and do not think that the larger issue is with cultural and religious restrictions on persoanl freedom, instead the greater wrong is what nations do to their citizens in the creation of national policies. Because of our wide practice of nationalism, it is critical to pay attention to the policies we make in light of humanity.

Anonymous said...

There should be respect for the traditions of other people but when those traditions conflict with western traditions something has to give. Women covered in burqas or niqabs are a symbol of oppression. Would we allow blacks to walk around in chains if that was deemed the tradition in their countries and was part of their 'religion'. Would we allow people to walk around wearing swastikas because that was part of their tradition and an expression of their 'religious' beliefs'
Anyone who has read the Koran or about Muhammad should be under no delusion that women are second class citizens in Islam.
We should not allow this discrimination to be perpetrated in the name of religion or traditions. Women have fought for hundreds of years to achieve equality. It is not something to be given away in the name of political correctness.

Anonymous said...

It is noot about political correctness at all. Perhaps the previous commenter misunderstood me. Western culture was based on liberation movements which occured during the enlightenment. During the French Revolution especially women were given much freedom and were libeerated in a large sense from the cnstraints set down by the Catholic church that was separateed from society earlier. As a result feminism has a stroong foundation on which to stand during the twentieth century. Perhaps many Muslim women in North Africa and Middle-Estern states claim it is oppressive and others in Europe. Let's not forget that it was in Egypt during the seventies that a three university women began grass-roots by wearing their veils in public primarily in University. In Europe many claim that the veil is a symbol of their cultural diversity. I think that in the beginning perhaps there was potential for oppression however now it has become a marker of cultural identity. I think the issue is much larger than this. Let us not forget why the veil has becoome such an issue in Europe, because of mass immigration brught about by such things as overpopulation, glabalization, poor governments that restrict individual freedoms, and poor ecoonomic and social conditions. With a rapid growth in global population closely reaching 7 billion, immigration is not an issuee that will end any time soon. Secular poolicies were fit for a European peoples but it is not fit for multiculturalism (a growing occurence). European governments should first educate themselves on the vast majorities who enter the nation (such as Muslims) and alter policies to fit their needs. Governments are for the people not just an singular eethnic population. Why does the veil bother Europe so much, because for so long it it's nations were predominantly Catholic (Christian) but this is being threatened by multiculturalism. Perhaps secularism by restricting religious symbols in public are irrelevant today in Europe? I do not think the veil threatens European culture; instead European policies threaten foreign cultures.

synnove said...

People who do not understand what the real underlying meaning is has a problem. The identity of a person should not be in his or her headscarf or clothing, it is absolutely not logic or even religious. Maybe with the winds and sand these clothes have been very useful as we in the west cover up for the snow as well, but inside a school there is no need for a massive cover up. Many muslims seem to think it gives them protection from looks may be so in some cases, but it also shows a focus on the body and on sex that is very narrowminded. A persons way of behaving can be very offensive, and a scarf or two does not protect the person from himself. There is a lot to be said for modest clothing, but what about a little modest behavior. To be part of the society and not look down on others. When my muslim husband came home informing us he had engaged his cousin, I could not believe how a so called modest scarfwearing girl could do this and break up a family, but she did and she felt extra proud as she was wearing the scarf....and I wasn't. But at least I do not steal from others. All this focus on womans clothing and under slows down focus on a development as human beings really. Not even a very bad person in the West would pull off such a stunt and pretend to be a good person. The vail slows people down from development, I think, it all becomes so superficial. And terribly focused on sex- exactly the opposite of what some think.From who are they hiding, not the sun not the wind in our time,it is more of a political statement.Better to develop from within and try to behave better as human fellow beings. And men that think they can do anything as long as the outer traditions are visible for example heavy marks in forehead for prayer and scarfs, certainly are not encourage to treat a person well. Nobody reacted when my husband started on his polygamist journey, but if I wore a scarf they would immediately comment.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps veils have been quite useful to wear in desert. If this is the case then it would seem that it should not bother European athorities, ja? For in that case it is not religious. However I believe the interpretation of European governments on Muslim veils is that it is religious and, "Oh shit, those damn muslim people are taking over our European nations...Why do they wear those stupid veils anyway?...I don't know but because I find it weird and because of my cultural ignorance and ethnocentricism and my belief that the European/White population has so much more authority/intelligence than that of the countries these people are coming from i'll just tell them to take the damn things off, cause it fucking bothers me so much." I really doubt that the enforcement of secular policies in Europe are to help those "poor oppressed Muslim girls and women"; but instead the reflection of stubborn European governments to get with the times who refusse to get rid of ancient policies that referred to a time when Europe was predominantly Christian and was not exposed to a growing Islamic population, also the refusal to accept that... hey guess what? those middle Eastern people who happen to be Muslim are not going away anytime soon (it's called intolerance). Otherwise these governments would have allowed the use of veils in Europe from the very beginning. Plus it seems that a good way to teach European school children about the world is to expose them instead of enforcing intolerant policies that foster or have the potential to create, discriminatory/racist attitudes, especially among the youth of Europe. And since the muslim population there is growing it would seem that policies should reflect an open ideaology that hey maybe these islamic people/middle eastern are becoming apart of Europe (rather than ohh maybe their just temporary or if we're lucky they'll just go away). Secular policies are the worst way to deal with multicultural immigration into a nation; but they're perfect for Nazi Germany, Stalin's Russia, Mousillini's Italy, Kambanda's Rwanda, Nepal's Moaists, Pol Pot's Cambodia, Ze-dong's China, Tojo's Japan, Menghistu's Ethiopia, Kim Il Sung's Korea, Enver's Turkey, Gowon's Biafra, Brezhnev's Afghanistan, Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Tito's Yugoslavia, Khan's Pakistan, Richard Nixon with Vietnam, etc, etc, etc...
It certainly in my opinion seeems to foreshadow and reflect a slight, very early attitude towards genocide (intolerance of one group towards another that wishes to get rid of the other, because oooh we can't stand them or, we're superior). It would seem that if European government really want to help what they call the so called "oppression of Muslim women" they'd give them the freedom to wear veils instead of subjecting them to more oppressive policies; So let's see, if they're religion hppens to be oppressive towards them they now have to deal with intolerance from their religion and European governments/societies. Doees that make any sense to you???????????????????????

Anonymous said...

I wish to leave another comment about arrogant Americans who believe that "America is the best damn country in the world. God Bless America." What a huge load of bullshit. The reason I hate these attitudes so much is because they are said especially it would seem by blind patriot/nationalists who believe that nationalism works!!!!!! YEAH bla bla bla.
First off i was born in the states (in the state of Connecticut). Thank God I don't live there anymore. You see, I think that there are a lot more countries better than the states. For example Canada. I now live in Canada. you see Canada is not the best country in the world but it's a hhell of a lot better than the states. I base my opinion on social institutions. For example Canada has a better political system (one that truly supports the individual), health system, education, and is better with global relations. You know that it was a Canadian who wrote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? But Canada isn;t the only nation better than United States based on it's social structure, so is Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, France, etc...
You want to know why United States of Americans havee to pay so much for education, healthcare, inssurance, etc... because your damn president wishes to further your war culture, by using all your tax money to support thhe U.S. military (hence it's incredible 400 Billion dollar budget). And you want to know how you are brained wash as an American. By saying the pledge of allegiance every morning in froont of an american flag that's in you schools and churches. You see you start doing it at 5 years old and by the time you graduate and your eighteen you believe in your nation soooo much (whether it's right or wrong) that you will support it no matter what, like entering a draft. Your nation doesn't believe in you, and yet it demands that to believe in it. you want to know why the American government pends so much on military and "War efforts" because of the Cold War my friend, and because it must continually be in some war (every American generation has been involved in a war) because it feels a need to constantly perform on a global stage and gain honour of being the most poerful nation on earth. Can you believe United States still has troops in Korea, Haiti and Bosnia. I bet those people really miss their Families. But no they've been brainwashed to believe that war can be just. Well here is the hard reality there is no just war. You cannot justify any war that you have been apart of. Try but you will fail. So stop walkng around the world like you own it. YOU DON'T!!! So the next time you pledge allegiance remember God blesses, Iraq, Iran, Korea, China, Russia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, everyone...the World. Besides this forum has nothing to do with the states it has to do with the veil debate in Europe...across the pond... stick with the program and stop trying to dominate the conversation with your annoying loud american patriotist voice. Thank you. And remember God Bless the world!

Anonymous said...

niqab, burka are symbols of oppression.

Anonymous said...

One thing that is being mixed here is ISLAM and ARABS/PERSIANS.. they so called live under the rules of Qur'an. It is the people that are fanatical not Islam that made them this way.
Islam is an very peacful religion with clear messages of how an good human should live.

You have 3 muslim countries in Europe, that is Albania, Bosnia, and Kosova. If you travel to any of these countries you will see that they behave in the exact same way as the rest of Europe. Why do you think its like that? Because we live in EUROPE as Europeans with our own opinions in religion and faith. We read the same Qur'an as the arabs. But its our mentallity that is different.
I think that you should be able to practice your religion and beliefs in any place in the world however it pleases you. Its wrong of you to say that muslims that emigrate to Europe should not be wearing the veil for instance. But also I DO agree with you about women travelling to Arab nations should be able to do it without the veil if they please so.

Anonymous said...

"Secular poolicies were fit for a European peoples but it is not fit for multiculturalism".

Secular State is not good. What is good then?

"(a growing occurence). European governments should first educate themselves on the vast majorities who enter the nation (such as Muslims) and alter policies to fit their needs."

Oh, I see.

"Governments are for the people not just an singular eethnic population. Why does the veil bother Europe so much, because for so long it it's nations were predominantly Catholic (Christian)"

It stills predominantly Judeo-Christian...

"but this is being threatened by multiculturalism. Perhaps secularism by restricting religious symbols in public are irrelevant today in Europe?"

Why wouldn't a Secular State be relevant today?

"I do not think the veil threatens European culture; instead European policies threaten foreign cultures."

Try multiculturalism in an Islamic country.

Anonymous said...

The medieval Nazi slave rag is intolerable for several reasons. First of all, bandanas on the head have been banned in all public buildings in the US because they are gang symbols, so it does not make sense to make an exception for anyone regarding headgear which symbolizes hatred, violence, and barbarity.

Secondly, it's psychological abuse. Yes, muslimas defend it for the same reasons they defend a religion which systematically and without exception reduces them to parasitic sex slave baby factories to be pimped away by their families at an always inappropriately young age to someone disturbingly older or into an incestuous relationship: it's Stockholm syndrome on the part of cult members, obviously. If they want to go home and chain themselves to a stove and get ass-raped by their decades-older cousin, and then crap out a bunch of ugly inbred monsters who they will raise to be maladjusted children incapable of self-sufficiency like themselves and then pimp them away or blow them up, that's fine, so long as you pay your taxes and keep it out of the sight and the way of reasonable, decent, thinking, moral people.

Thirdly, it's intolerable becaue it is a symbol of hatred against women and non-Muslims. When I see a parasitic sex slve baby factory in a medieval Nazi slave rag, as far as I'm concerned, she's shrouded in a big swastika and crawling her mutilated ass around on all fours with a ball gag in her mouth, a leash around her neck, and the name of the a-hole to whom she whored he life away branded on her ass and her forehead. It says "I'm not a human being. I'm just a crawling vagina, designed for sex and breeding and nothing more. I don't have a brain, and if I did, what on Earth would my inbred ass ever do with it? I'm a Muslim. We Muslims don't use our brains, as our entire history has unequivocally demonstrated. I have no problem being reduced to a parasitic sex slave baby factory. I have no use for human dignity anyway because if I had any I would just whore it away to some a-hole like I did my life."

And don't even pull that 'pride' sick bs. Muslims have absolutely nothing to be proud of and everything to be ashamed of. That's why all their countries are different variations on Satan's a-hole. That's why no Muslim has ever contributed anything of any value to this world in any way, shape or form. And yet, ironically, it's the people who come from the shame cultures who apparently have zero concept of shame.

synnove said...

I must comment on this very rude comments made on this site recently. I think some show a very unbalanced mind and a very rude language. It is clear many muslims are great persons and the girls too, howeever many do look down on western woman and are willing to break up marriages to get themselves a muslim husband with money regardless og the fact that the man is already married. There is no excuse for these woman. I think those actions speak for themselves and set aside the idea that the clothing has much to do with being modest, its just another tradition. But for some nice people they are seen as a symbol of modesty. For most in practice it is obviously far from it. But whoever wrote the very rude comment recently (4th July) the person must realise how ignorant the comment is and full of hatred. One cannot generalise and think all muslims are the same. Some are nice people whatever they wear, some not whatever they were. The person commenting must look at himself/herself and really do some repenting anad changing as the attitude presented here is unbalanced, rude, uneducated and simple. The language is such as one would expect to find among the lowest of people and not at all worthy of getting a space in any fora on internet.
Go to school learn something and learn to present yourself in a different way. And best of all work hard to become a DIFFERENT and BETTER person. Your attitudes and presentation has nothing good to offer anybody in a sivilised world.

Anonymous said...

Synnove, tradition my ass. They have an indefensible, retarded, despicable, shameful "tradition" (please, try to defend it because I would loooooove to hear it) of slavery, misogyny, child abuse, animal abuse, endless human rights abuses, backasswardness, Fascism, and genocide, and that is precisely what that thing stands for. It's entire purpose is the same as that of the Nazis' shaving the Jews' heads and forcing them to wear a uniform in concentration camps: ITS EXPRESS PURPOSE IS TO DEPRIVE THEM OF 100% OF THEIR DIGNITY, THEIR IDENTITY, THEIR HUMANITY, AND THEIR POWER. And women wearing those things today in the free are like Jews who would willingly shave their own heads and walk around in Nazi concentration camp prison uniforms. Like I said before, it is Stockholm syndrom on the part of cult members.

And ignorant my ass. You wanna talk about ignorant? You apparently have no idea what the Koran says about that. It says that women are to shroud themselves in order to protect their AWRAT, not their modesty. 'Modesty' is an apologist intentional mistranslation. It says they must guard their VAGINA, which apparently constitutes their entire body, mind, and soul. If you read the Sharia law code and marriage contract, it is again perfectly clear that women are considered to be nothing but big, walking sex organs, designed for screwing, breeding, being owned as property, and being traded by their muhrim for money. So my assessment that when a woman wears one of those things that she is, for all intents and purposes:

"shrouded in a big swastika and crawling her mutilated ass around on all fours with a ball gag in her mouth, a leash around her neck, and the name of the a-hole to whom she whored he life away branded on her ass and her forehead. It says 'I'm not a human being. I'm just a crawling vagina, designed for sex and breeding and nothing more. I don't have a brain, and if I did, what on Earth would my inbred ass ever do with it? I'm a Muslim. We Muslims don't use our brains, as our entire history has unequivocally demonstrated. I have no problem being reduced to a parasitic sex slave baby factory. I have no use for human dignity anyway because if I had any I would just whore it away to some a-hole like I did my life.'"

is perfectly true, fair, justified, valid, and called-for.

And who are these "great [Muslim] persons?" Can you name one? There have been billions of them over the course of the last 1400 years. Go ahead. Name ONE. And it IS more than perfectly fair to generalize about Muslims. Islam is a cult. They are all one retarded (to quote my man Geert Wilders), parasitic, seditious, regressive, inbred mind. If they weren't, would they all actively brainwash themselves 5 times a day, chanting the same empty, meaningless "prayers," facing the same direction, declaring their allegiance the Nazi Ummah? Really? I don't think we're living in the same world, sweetheart.

I have every right to be offended to the very core of my being my by a symbol of misogyny, Nazism, slavery, and genocide.

synnove said...

Well, I do know a lot about it and it is not as simplistic as some commentators think. There are also other religions that wear scarf in church as a symbol of respect as they think it. And there are well educated people doing this, it is for many just a tradition if nothing else. However, people should be more aware maybe of what things they wear and do symbolises and the history and politics of what they partake in. I still think it is obvoius that some commentators have too much hatred towards different-than-themselves- people, it does not serve anybody well. You don't need to agree, and there surly is a lot to disagree with the different religions, and earlier practices are bad in many religions, but we can update our minds and traditions to what is good in our time, and a minimum of respect for each other regardless of colour, race and not well founded traditions. International human rights organisations may hopefully do their part to pubilsize and work to rid societies of what is unnesessary and wrong practices where they exist anywhere in the world
Neither is there much of an excuse for bad language like seen in these comments. I did not even read more than the first two lines, it tells the story. Brush up your language please.

Abdul Jabbar Karingappara said...

Yes you are right.If people are not wearing anything no attrocities!.The personnel freedom should be there to wear descent cloths also.Anyway it is quite waste to speak about freedom in the world ,millions of innocent people are killed day by day with false accusings.

Unknown said...

Islam is a false religion . Beware them. they are terrorists by birth itself . They are cuasing problems in India/ against Hindus & Christians , China (Xinchian )with Buddhists , Russia (Chechnia)with Orthodox Christians , Serbia (Kosova&Bosnia)with Orthodox Christians , Cyprus , Pakistan (torturing Christians ) , Sudan ( Genocide by Al-Bashir not condemned by NATO who were eager to bash Kardzig of Serbia in exchange of Russian and Ukranian girls ) , Spain (tube rail), France , denmark ,Australia , England , United States , Iraq , Lebenon , Egypt ...........................
Where is the glory of Christian Middle East ??? It is gone for ever !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Please restrict the migration of Muslims from Africa , Asia and Mediterranian region.Discriminate them

Unknown said...

People in the West should be allowed to wear burkhas and veils for the same reason that people in the East should be allowed NOT to wear them (which unfortunately is not the case).

But let's be perfectly clear - allowing the expression of thought does not mean the same thing as endorsement of the thought expressed.

For example, in the US we allow the KKK to hold rallies and fly a Confederate flag, and to wear sheets on their heads. But we also quite openly criticize these as symbols of hatred and oppression.