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“Don’t judge a woman by her cover!” Belgian Universities Banning Hijabs Sparks Outrage

BY: Samiha Mozammel

Brussels, Belgium- On July 5th, thousands of protestors gathered to voice their opinions on the banning of religious headscarves in universities. Belgian police state that around 1200 to 2000 people came together this Sunday to protest this new constitutional decision stating that the wearing of headscarves are allowed to be banned in universities.

Although the ruling states that the ban does not constitute a violation to any human rights, many people believe otherwise. The Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie en Belgique (CCIB) described this ban as “an unprecedented breach of fundamental rights in terms of religious and philosophical convictions.”. The ban is seen as harmful, as it is a human right to have religious freedoms. Anti-headscarf and secularism laws have detrimental impacts on Muslim communities, as it comes off as trying to erase their identities to fit a bigger demographic.

Many universities have since released official statements saying that this ban will not be taking place at their schools in response to protests, but there are universities who have not since commented about this ban.

Protests first took place in reaction to the Haute Ecole Francisco Ferrer banning headscarves on their campus, and then the Constitutional Court supporting this decision later on July 4th. The first protests were organized by 4 women, Fatima-Zohra Ait El Maâti, Souhaïla Amri, Sarah Tulkens, and Salma Faitah. In an interview with VICE, El Maâti said “The climate is untenable for Muslim communities in the West. The fact of blocking the wearing of the veil to protect us testifies to a mad ignorance. We need real meeting and discussion places to deconstruct preconceived ideas.”.

People around the world have also been voicing their concern on this, using the hashtags #HijabisFightBack and #TouchePasAMesEtudes (Leave my education alone). They believe this ban is extremely discriminatory, as wearing a headscarf should not get in the way of obtaining an education. Putting aside a whole category of people just because of their religion is ignorant, and change is due.

Banning the wearing of hijabs and headscarves does not unite people, but further divides them. Especially in today's climate, division is the last thing the world needs.

*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.


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