Latvia bans wearing full face veils in public

The move follows a similar ban on full-face veils in public spaces implemented by France in 2011.

London: Latvia has banned women from wearing the Islamic full-face veil in public, despite only three people being known to wear them in the entire country, whose population of less than two million people includes about 1,000 practicing Muslims, according to government estimates.

According to The Independent, authorities say the new legislation is necessary in order to protect Latvian culture and prevent terrorists from smuggling weapons under garments. The move follows a similar ban on full-face veils in public spaces implemented by France in 2011.

Latvia’s Justice Minister Dzintars Rasnacs said the law – which he hopes will come into place by 2017 – is less to do with the number of women wearing the traditional niqab, but rather about ensuring prospective immigrants respect the country’s values.

'A legislator's task is to adopt preventive measures,' Latvia's Justice Minister Dzintars Rasnacs told the New York Times. ‘We do not only protect Latvian cultural-historical values, but the cultural-historical values of Europe.’ When the low number of niqab bearers was highlighted, Mr. Rasnacs said the law 'had more to do with ensuring that prospective immigrants respect the norms' of Latvia.

This comes just days after France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he wants all forms of Muslim headscarves to be banned in universities. In an interview with the daily newspaper, Liberation, Prime Minister Valls said France should 'protect' French Muslims from extremist ideology. He said the headscarf, when worn for political reasons, oppresses women and is not ‘an object of fashion or consumption like any other.’

Asked whether to outlaw headscarves in universities, Mr Valls is quoted as saying ‘it should be done, but there are constitutional rules that make this ban difficult.’

( Source : Agencies )
Next Story