Factbox: Troubled Europe debates burqas, niqabs and burkinis

Thu Aug 25, 2016 12:08pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

BERLIN (Reuters) - Restrictions on face and full-body veils are back in the spotlight in parts of Europe after some French cities banned the burkini swimsuit, saying the garment, which leaves only the face, hands and feet exposed, defies laws on secularism.

A spate of attacks against civilians claimed by militant group Islamic State, notably in Belgium, France and Germany, has sharpened the debate, with a large influx of mainly Muslim migrants to the continent also giving rise to resentment among some Europeans.

Here are details on where the full-body burqa and burkini, and the niqab face veil, are banned and where bans are under discussion.


Austrian conservative politicians have called for a ban on full body veils, saying they prevent women who wear them from integrating given it is a mainly Catholic country. Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka has said he would expect a full ban to be problematic in terms of constitutional law.

A spokesman for Austria's Supreme Court of Justice said there was no law banning face-coverings.

But that court recently heard a case in which an employer in a notary office fired his Muslim employee for wearing a face veil, saying it inhibited her interaction with clients. She sued on equality grounds but the court agreed with the employer, saying a face veil impacted her ability to do her job.

A Sports Ministry spokesman said he was not aware of any countrywide rule regarding burkinis in public swimming pools and pools had the right to make their own decisions.   Continued...

A Muslim woman wears a burkini, a swimsuit that leaves only the face, hands and feet exposed, on a beach in Marseille, France, August 17, 2016.    REUTERS/Stringer