Belgian right-wingers offer burqa bounty

Published: June 5, 2012

Belgium and France both banned the wearing of full veils in public last year. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

BRUSSELS: Belgian right-wingers have offered to pay a $310 bounty to anyone who reports a veiled woman to police, they said on Tuesday, in the wake of face veil riots in Brussels.

Filip Dewinter, a senior figure within Vlaams Belang, a right-wing party, told Reuters the riots had made police apprehensive about enforcing the burqa ban and that the payment should put pressure on authorities to further enforce it.

“It’s a textile prison for the women who have to live under it,” he said.

It comes after protesters hurled bins and metal barriers at a Brussels police station last week after a Muslim woman was arrested for refusing to remove her face veil.

A Brussels police spokesman said he was unaware of the money being offered, but said any officer who sees a woman wearing a niqab would issue a penalty.

“When someone is breaking the law we always have to intervene, demonstrations or no, the niqab is prohibited,” he said.

Women in Belgium risk a maximum fine of around $120 if they wear a full face veil in public. Belgium and France both banned the wearing of full veils in public last year.

Dewinter said he was not aware how many people had already responded to the offer of a bounty.

A spokeswoman for Belgium’s federal police said the legality of the bounty was a question for the judiciary, but if someone felt insulted by it they could file a complaint with the police.

Police in Belgium are investigating last week’s riots and arrested 13 members of the group Sharia4Belgium on Sunday, the police spokesman said.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Jun 5, 2012 - 11:47PM

    So called “developed” nations.

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  • Imran
    Jun 6, 2012 - 12:05AM

    @Sajid Iqbal

    Developed nations became developed by following their laws. These burqa clad Muslim women are breaking Belgian laws. Why should Belgians tolerate it?

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  • Hammad
    Jun 6, 2012 - 12:56AM

    Imagine wearing western clothes (bikinis?) in a muslim country and you’ll see the inherent hypocrisy in muslim mindset. Their country, their laws. Take it or leave it.

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  • R. Roy
    Jun 6, 2012 - 3:21AM

    @Sajid Iqbal: then why are we going there— will you like christian hindus jew ect. to come to so called muslim lands and ask them to change thair laws so the girls can walk around in “mini,s” drink and dance at will if not then don’t go to euro-land ad ask them to change for you no one is inviting you in they are only trying to keep you out. why can’t you learn from INDIANS they look like you speak like you but have 1% of the problems that are faced by muslims all around world sorry to say “like it or leave it” it is thair land

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  • Jun 6, 2012 - 9:23AM

    @R.Roy: That’s not a good justification for the religious intolerance that has just emerged in the west in the recent years. What if all Hindus and Christians in the Muslim countries are forced to adopt the Islamic code of dress, i.e men have to wear turbans and women must cover their faces, I know the entire world will go crazy and there will be a huge hue and cry all around the globe.
    Similarly, forcing Muslims not to practice their Islamic customary is forcing them into adopting the liberalism – which is a parallel “lifestyle” to religion.

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  • Dennis Kang
    Jun 6, 2012 - 6:43PM

    @Imran:
    Developed nations can descend into tyranny pretty quickly when ‘developed’ nations start demonising a particular social group. These laws are not there to protect ‘civilised nations’ but to to appease the hatemongers and the growing right wing hate machine that is spreading throughout europe. I wonder if you can recall what happened the last time developed nations gave in to hatred???

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  • Dennis Kang
    Jun 6, 2012 - 6:45PM

    @R Roy. The right to wear whatever you like is enshrined in most modern democracy’s. When you start changing laws to persecute one group you have a problem.

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  • Andrew H
    Jun 6, 2012 - 7:20PM

    While many in the West find the practice of wearing Hijab as derogatory and wrong, it is not our place to force women to remove it. And while we may open a dialogue with them about our thoughts and concerns about what Hijab represents, it is not our place to make these women remove the scarf. As the adage goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make the horse drink. The movement against the Hijab may be something that will happen in the future, but it cannot be forced by people from other cultures.

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  • Harko Buchanen
    Jun 7, 2012 - 3:27AM

    What’s next for the Tribune, a screed against laws banning the Chinese practice of foot binding?

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  • Ali
    Jun 7, 2012 - 8:31PM

    The fundamental basis of liberal belief is to let anyone wear whatever he/she wants to.. It was Saudi Arabia first and then France.. and now Belgium too competing for intolerance of basic human rights.. which are of course beyond secularism or religion belief systems… Planet Earth.. Humans are making you messier everyday! :\

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