From Sat Aug 27 13:30:31 2005
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2005 18:17:31 -0500 (CDT)
From: Michael Givel <>
Subject: Burka Ban in Belgium
Article: 220508
To: undisclosed-recipients: ;

City to pay woman's fine for breach of Burka Ban

Expatica, 25 August 2005

25/8/2005—In the Limburg city of Maaseik the first fine for wearing an Islamic burka has been issued.

Police booked a young woman of Moroccan origin three weeks ago for wearing the all-concealing Islamic veil, newspaper De Standaard reported on Thursday. The woman will now be required to pay a EUR 125 fine, Maaseik Mayor Jan Creemers said on Wednesday.

Ironically, the city will probably end up paying the fine because the woman is receiving social security payments from the OCMW benefits office.

The woman will not be the only one fined however. Police have already booked four other women for the same crime. The incidents may also lead to the payment of fines, but Maaseik will also end up paying their fines because the women are on social security recipients also.

On 27 December last year, the Maaseik City Council approved the controversial and so-called ‘burka decision’. The decision banned the wearing of a burka—a body-covering garment with veiled holes for the eyes—and a niqab, a face veil covering the lower part of the face up to the eyes.

Schools win green light for headscarf ban Expatica, 26 August 2005

26/8/2005—Two schools in Wallonia have won permission to ban pupils from wearing headscarves from September. The French Community education minister Marie Arena agreed on Thursday to allow Athinies royaux in Gilly and Vauban, near Charleroi, to outlaw pupils from wearing any ostentatious religious symbol.

The schools had requested a change to their rules to become effective from the start of the new school year. A statement from Arena's cabinet said: The minister, having checked that these projects don't breach the rights and liberties in our country, believes educational teams should be trusted. It's them who, on a daily basis and on the ground, are best at acting on the interest of pupils and for the good organisation of schools.

Arena believes the two schools have changed their rules after thoughtful consideration and proper consultation. The texts were approved by the schools' councils which include parents, teachers and pupils. However, Arena doesn't intend to introduce a blanket headscarf ban in all francophone schools. The minister said there should be a mix of educational establishments to allow parents to choose.

Now more than 70 percent of schools in the French Community have already outlawed religious symbols.

Arena's decision on the Gilly and Vauban schools comes the day after Charleroi's interim tribunal dismissed the case of parents who want the ban overturned. Jean-Paul Jacques, the lawyer representing the parents, complained that there had never been a process of dialogue between the schools and the parents and pupils concerned by the ban. He also said he had not been granted a meeting between his clients and Arena to discuss the matter.