MP André Frédéric Calls for a Vote to Ban the Burqa
February 11, 2010, 7:47 pm
BRUSSELS– André Frédéric (P-S), the chairman of the Interior committee in the chambre (house) of the Belgian parliament, is calling for a vote to decide whether the burqa will be banned from being worn in public in Belgium.
Last October, a motion passed to add a burqa ban to the socialist party's platform. Now, Mr. Frédéric is asking local politicians to create regulations banning the burqa in municipalities, with large fines to give the rules teeth.
He stressed that it is the prerogative of the members of parliament to decide upon this issue. “I’m available to members,” said Mr. Frédéric. “If a majority of members decide to make this issue a priority, it does not pose any problem for me.”
“It is time to consider and vote on the ban. We must now go beyond declarations of intent. It seems that a majority is emerging" for the ban, said MP Denis Ducarme (MR) Tuesday.
MP Georges Dallemagne (CDH) announced Monday that the cdH has filed a proposal to ban the burqa. A similar proposal has also been filed in the Senate by the CD&V.
The burqa has already been outlawed in several Brussles communes. The commune of Molenbeek was the first to do so in 2004. Its actions were echoed by eight other municipalities and police districts: Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, Brussels City, Ganshoren, Koekelberg, Jette, Schaerbeek, Saint-Josse and Evere. Verviers Pepinster in Wallonia has followed suit, and Flanders has adopted regulations that are available to all interested communes.
"As to the form, I have no problem discussing what is most effective, law or regulation… it would be inconsistent to pass legislation without having the means to act," argued Frédéric.
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