Yesterday it was announced that it is now illegal to wear a Burqa in Switzerland with fines of up to £6,500 for those in violation. Unfortunately this isn’t a new concept within the realms of legislation as the French government made it illegal back in 2010. For those who aren’t familiar with Burqas, it is a long garment covering the whole body from head to feet. It is typically worn in public by Muslim women. As a pro-equality charity, we are strictly against anything that prohibits freedom of speech or expression and completely condemn the bans.
6 Reasons Why We Shouldn’t Ban the Burqa
1. Because everybody should have the freedom of speech and expression:
It is a basic human right to be able to live your life and to express yourself in an environment that is safe and equal. Historically, so many groups of people have been suppressed by public opinion and politics and driven underground. This is the 21st century and we should be moving forwards and not backwards. We should all challenge any status quo that violates the rights of others. Whilst we understand the opinion that Burqa’s disempower women, banning them is not the way to tackle the issue. The fact of the matter is: men and women are equal and this should extend to equality of expression.
2. Because religion does not equal terrorism:
The sheer fact that the Burqa has been banned in Switzerland, suggests that they clearly perceive it to be a threat to public safety. Islamophobia or Islamohate as we prefer to call it is a growing trend, specifically within Westernised culture. There is a common belief that all people who identify as being Muslim are terrorists or extremists, whereas terrorism activity represents an incredibly small proportion of the Muslim community and violates the basic principles and beliefs that the religion is based on.
3. Because banning the Burqa is forced feminism:
We understand that in many cases, the Burqa is used to disempower women and to remove their freedom of expression, but equally – in many other cases, it is used as an outlet for people to express their religious beliefs and affinity. We absolutely stand against the unfair treatment of women, but banning the Burqa is not necessarily the best way to tackle the issue. It is a much better strategy to understand the root cause of those beliefs and to challenge them with education.
4. Because Burqa’s are a staple piece in the expression of religious beliefs:
Our research shows that only a minority of young people are religious and that’s perfectly okay. It’s also perfectly okay to have religious beliefs – whether they are beliefs that comply with popular religions or not. Nobody has the right to dictate to anybody what they can and can’t believe and it’s important to respect that everybody is different and that diversity is a good and important thing. Burqa’s are, to some people, an expression of their devotion to their religion. That’s okay. Just because you don’t understand it, doesn’t mean you should fear it.
5. Because the Government should have no right in deciding what citizens can and can’t wear in public:
Imagine the outcry if the British Government suddenly decided to ban hats, gloves and scarves during the winter months because a small minority were using them to conceal their identity for insidious purpose? Could you imagine the reaction? The Government is there to run the country and not there to dictate religious or clothing choices.
6. Because Governments should be allocating time and resources to things such as poverty, radicalisation and equality:
It takes a lot of time and costs a lot of money for the Government to draft, amend and file new legislation. We don’t have exact figures but we imagine it’s enough to feed a lot of people who are on the brink of poverty.