Belgium Parliament Approves Burqa Ban

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The Belgium parliament has voted to ban Muslim women from wearing burqas in public.

The burqa is Islamic clothing designed to a fully cover the body and includes a face-covering veil. Women in many Islamic nations wear the burqa. However, the Belgium legislation will not target the classic headscarf worn by many Muslim women.

Some say the burqa poses security issues and threatens democratic values.

"We cannot allow someone to claim the right to look at others without being seen," said Daniel Bacquelaine, who proposed the bill. "It is necessary that the law forbids the wearing of clothes that totally mask and encloses an individual."

"Wearing the burqa in public is not compatible with an open, liberal, tolerant society," he added.

The legislation now goes before Belgium's House of Representatives in April. If passed, it would be the first European country to ban wearing the burqa in public.

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