Norway Debates Banning Burqa

Norway Debates Banning Burqa

Two major political parties in Norway have stated they would consider advocating a ban on the burqa following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that a similar ban in France does not violate the fundamental rights of Muslim women.

The Local reports that Progress Party representative Mazyar Keshvari said: “We must consider whether we should promote the proposal again, after the court in Strasbourg has now confirmed what we have constantly said: that a ban is compatible with human rights.”

Jan Bøhler of the Labour Party also said that the Strasbourg ruling could revitalise discussion over a ban in Norway: “When parliament rejected such a ban in 2013, the main argument was that Norway risked being censured in the ECHR. Now that argument falls away. I think we need to take a new discussion about a possible ban.”

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, who is also a former leader of the Norwegian Labour Party, praised the ruling by the ECHR: “I think it is a positive judgement. It states that any person who participates in a community has an obligation to show their face, otherwise no other community members can relate to you.”

The issue has previously divided the left-wing Labour Party. Together with the more libertarian Progress party, they have 84 MPs in Norway’s parliament, which puts them one vote short of a majority to pass the legislation, assuming all Labour MPs vote with it.