Norway is aiming to ban face-covering Muslim veils in kindergartens, schools, and universities, the government said on Monday. The country’s ban targets the niqab, burkas, balaclavas, as well as masks. The ban would also apply in nurseries, according to Reuters. Norway is the latest European nation to propose restrictions on wearing burqas and niqabs.
Other countries such as the Netherlands, France, Belgium, and Bulgaria have all imposed restrictions on wearing full-face veils in public places.
Torbjoern Roe Isaksen, the Education Minister of the center-right Conservatives and populist Progress Party, told Reuters, “We have every reason to believe this will be approved by parliament.” He added that the clothing prevents communication.
“These clothes prevent good communication, which is important for students to receive a good education.”
Per Sandberg, the acting Minister of Immigration and Integration, made similar comments during a news conference.
“Face-covering garment such as the niqab or burqa do not belong in Norwegian schools. The ability to communicate is a basic value.”
Sandberg added that employees who insist on wearing a face veil in public would be at risk losing their jobs, and students could face expulsion from their universities, according to Metro.
At the present time, local authorities can ban the full face veil in schools, but there is no national policy.
Norway will be the first country in the Nordic region to introduce a ban on burqas for both adults and children.
The prohibition will also outlaw other clothing obstructing facial features in public places, universities, courts, or on transport.
Norway’s proposed ban on face veils contrasts from Austria. The president of Austria, Alexander Van der Bellen, has called for all women to wear headscarves in solidarity with Muslims in an effort to fight against “rampant Islamophobia,” which is said to be occurring in Austria, according to Yahoo!. The president has received some backlash as he seems to be at odds with Austria, who is the latest European country to ban niqabs and burqas in public spaces and institutions.
“If this very real and rampant Islamaphobia continues, there will come a day where we must ask all women to wear a headscarf – all – out of solidarity to those who do it for religious reasons.”
The president of Austria added that it is every woman’s right to dress in a manner in which she feels fit. Van der Bellen was responding to a question from a student who argued a ban on Islamic headscarves or veils would reduce women to their appearance, rather than accomplishments. The Austrian president added all women could wear a headscarf.
“… And it is not only Muslim women, all women can wear a headscarf.”
The student added the ban would shut some out of the labor market, according to The Independent.
“It is every woman’s right to always dress how she wants, that is my opinion on the matter.”
Van der Bellen’s comments were made in March but emerged after being broadcast on Austrian television, according to the Washington Post. The comments were made in the midst of a debate in the country and Germany about “burqa bans.”
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