Bulgaria has joined several other European countries in banning the burqa or any other full face covering for anyone out in public. If women don’t comply they face a hefty fine and loss of their benefits.
The Bulgarian parliament approved the law, backed by the nationalist Patriotic Front coalition. The party’s co-leader Krasimir Karakachanov said the law would improve security, saying: “the burqa is more a uniform than a religious symbol”.
Women who break the law will face fines of up to €770 or £665, as well as a suspension of social security benefits.
The law, however, has its many detractors.
[snip] the Movement for Rights and Freedoms party, which opposed the bill, walked out of the chamber in protest.
In a statement, Amnesty International UK condemned the ban. John Dalhuisen, Europe Director of the human rights organisation, said: “Women in Bulgaria should be free to dress as they please and to wear the burqa or the niqab as an expression of their identity or beliefs. This ban violates their rights to freedom of expression and religion.
“This law is part of a disturbing trend of intolerance, xenophobia and racism in Bulgaria.
“Legitimate security concerns can be met with targeted restrictions on the complete covering of the face in well-defined high-risk locations and not through a blanket discriminatory ban such as this.”
Interesting to note, most of the other countries that have imposed a similar ban- Belgium, France and the Netherlands- have a large Muslim population, many of whom refuse to integrate. Of the 7.1 million people who live in Bulgaria, 10 percent are Muslim. No doubt, that percentage will increase.
They have their reasons for banning:
Earlier this year, head of the Bulgarian city Pazardjik Rumen Kozhuharov said: “The main thing that motivated and catalysed this [discussions about banning face veils] were the terrorist attacks that happened in European countries and the increasing flow of migrants who entered the country in the past few years.”
Banning a symbol of political Islam, is not xenophobic, racist or intolerant. It’s survival. It’s not like they’re banning the hijab. Full face coverings have no place in modern Western civilization.