Argument: Burqa ban violates religious freedoms

Issue Report: Ban on Muslim burqa and niqab


Mr John Dalhuisen, Amnesty’s expert on discrimination in Europe: “A complete ban on the covering of the face would violate the rights to freedom of expression and religion of those women who wear the burqa or the niqab.”[1]

In Egypt, the High Administrative Court overturned in early 2010 a ban on female students wearing the niqab at university examinations. The court held that the “a girl’s right to dress the way she sees fit in accordance with her beliefs and her social environment is a firm right that cannot be violated.”[2]

Noha Ahmed Eid, 18, a medical student at Cairo University and a plaintiff in a Cairo court case on a burqa ban there: “For me, my niqab is my religion, and I’m taking it to imitate the wives of the Prophet, so to ask me now to take it off to attend the exam is like asking me to be naked in the exam hall.”[3]

Monty Self. “Burqa Ban Will Erode Mutual Understanding.” Ethics Daily. April 7, 2010: “Banning the burqa on religious grounds might help slow the erosion of historic French values, but ultimately it will break the fragile trust of religious freedom. The day we fail to protect a minority’s right to practice its faith is the day we put our future in jeopardy. For one day, we ourselves will be the minority religion.”