Muslim protest at Belgian veil law


AN IRISH Muslim lobbying group is planning a demonstration outside the Belgian embassy in Dublin this weekend in protest against moves by the Belgian parliament to prohibit the public wearing of face veils.

The lower house of the Belgian parliament unanimously voted in favour of the proposed law which, while not specifically banning the burqa and niqab, would forbid the wearing of such garments by calling for penalties for those who present themselves in public with their face hidden or masked, in part or in full.

The legislation was to go before the Belgian senate but the recent collapse of the government in Belgium means there may be no senate vote before parliament is dissolved ahead of forthcoming elections.

If the senate votes in favour, the law would constitute Europe’s first national ban on face veils., which describes itself as an activist organisation aiming to “defend Muslim interests and Islam” in Ireland, has organised a protest to take place at the Belgian embassy on Saturday afternoon.

The group accuses the Belgian authorities of undermining the rights of Muslim women under “spurious pretexts of security and cultural incompatibility”.

In a memo sent to several Muslim organisations in Ireland, the organisers advise those planning to attend the protest against bringing banners featuring “calls to violence or trouble”. They also advise against the burning of flags.

“Unlike the kuffar we should be more disciplined and not go down to their level . . . We should all act like Islamic statesmen,” the memo reads. “Just state that these laws are discriminatory and are a cause of community instability,” it says.

“This is a show of unity . . . and we hope in the coming days to co-ordinate our efforts with interested parties in order to send a strong message to the government of Belgium, and also dissuade those here who would consider such repression.”

Similar protests are planned for a number of other European cities, including Brussels.