by Soeren Kern:
The law [banning the veil] also liberates women because the wearing of veils “is totally incompatible with the very idea of equality,” according to Annie Sugier, head of the International League for Women’s Rights.
“[H]er aim is not to annoy others but to feel at inner peace with herself.” — Part of Court’s summary of the case.
The court has deemed the case to so important that it has taken the unusual step of referring it to the Grand Chamber, the Court’s highest chamber.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has opened a landmark hearing to consider the legality of France’s ban on wearing Islamic veils in public spaces.
The court’s ruling—expected to be issued sometime during the middle of 2014—will determine the fate of the debate over so-called burqa bans (here, here, here, here and here) that have been raging across Europe for many years.
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. The ECHR is considering the legality of France’s restrictions on wearing the Islamic veil in public. (Image source: CherryX/WikiMedia Commons)
The court has deemed the case so important that it has taken the unusual step of referring it to the Grand Chamber, the court’s highest chamber that handles the most significant and leading-edge questions affecting the interpretation and application of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The court began hearing the case—which is being brought by a 23-year-old French Muslim woman identified only by her initials S.A.S.—on November 27.
According to a summary of the case published by the court, S.A.S. sued the French State on April 11, 2011, when legislation banning people from covering their faces in public places came into force. The document states:
“In the applicant’s submission, she is a devout Muslim and she wears the burqa and niqab in accordance with her religious faith, culture and personal convictions. As she has explained, the burqa is a full-body covering including a mesh over the face, and the niqab is a full-face veil leaving an opening only for the eyes. The applicant also emphasizes that neither her husband nor any other member of her family puts pressure on her to dress in this manner. She adds that she wears the niqab in public and in private, but not systematically. She is thus content not to wear the niqab in certain circumstances but wishes to be able to wear it when she chooses to do so. Lastly, her aim is not to annoy others but to feel at inner peace with herself.”
S.A.S. argued that the French law violates six articles of the European Convention on Human Rights. These are: Article 3 (no one shall be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment); Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life); Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion); Article 10 (freedom of expression); Article 11 (freedom of assembly and association); and Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination).
France’s “burqa ban” entered into force on April 11, 2011. The law—which prohibits the wearing of Islamic body-covering burqas and face-covering niqabs in all public spaces in France—was enacted amid rising frustration that the country’s estimated 6.5 million Muslims are not integrating into French society.
Read more at Gatestone Institute