A parliamentary committee unanimously voted Wednesday to ban the wearing of face-covering veils in public, a major step in the legislative process that could make Belgium the first European country to impose such a religious prohibition.
The full House of Representatives is expected to vote on the issue late April.
The Interior Affairs Committee representing all major parties was unanimous Wednesday in backing the bill. The six parliamentarians from the MR french-speaking liberal party said the principle of “recognize to know” trumped other considerations in the issue.
“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,” he said, adding he was not targeting the classic headscarf worn by many Muslim women.