Argument: Limits can be imposed on burqa when necessary, but not ban

Issue Report: Ban on Muslim burqa and niqab


“Banning the burqa. A bad idea.” Economist. May 13, 2010: “European governments are entitled to limit women’s rights to wear the burqa. In schools, for instance, pupils should be able to see teachers’ faces, as should judges and juries in court. But Europeans should accept that, however much they dislike the burqa, banning it altogether would be an infringement on the individual rights which their culture normally struggles to protect. The French, of all people, should know that. As Voltaire might have said, ‘I disapprove of your dress, but I will defend to the death your right to wear it.'”

Sandeep Gopalan. “Behind the burqa.” New York Times Op-Ed. January 27, 2010: “The [Egyptian] court did carve out a security exception, saying that a student wearing the niqab must show her face when asked for security reasons. Similarly, many Islamic states require women to unveil for photo identity cards, professional exams and certain medical procedures.

Religious preferences must yield when there is a compelling government interest and where accommodation is not reasonably possible.

[…] What compelling interest does the government have in banning burqas in hospitals or government offices? Or on buses and trains?

To the extent that there are any reasonable security concerns, it should be permissible to require burqa-clad women to be screened by police officers. Similarly, banning burqas from some government jobs would also be acceptable.”