Parliament panel in Belgium approves banning burqa

The full House of Representatives is expected to vote on the issue late April.
The Interior Affairs Committee representing all major parties was unanimous today in backing the bill. The six parliamentarians from the MR French-speaking liberal party said the principle of "recognise to know" trumped other considerations in the issue.
"We cannot allow someone to claim the right to look at others without being seen," said Daniel Bacquelaine, who proposed the bill.

"It is necessary that the law forbids the wearing of clothes that totally mask and encloses an individual," he said, adding he was not targeting the classic headscarf worn by many Muslim women.

The parliamentarians are specifically targeting the body-covering burqa and face-veiling niqab, which are still very rare features in Belgian public life. `"We have to act as of today to avoid (its) development," Bacquelaine said.

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