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Belgium veil ban passes with widespread support

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Most Muslims in Belgium come from North Africa and some from Turkey, where the full facial covering is not common among Muslim women, says Allen Keiswetter, a Middle East expert and scholar at the Middle East Institute who has lived in Belgium.

As a result, he says, this new ban “will not affect a large number of people, but symbolically I think it could be an example of the increasing tension that has occurred between the Muslims and the non-Muslim Belgians.”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has also said, “The burqa has no place in France.” Ignoring warnings about the questionable constitutionality of such a ban, Mr. Sarkozy and the French government have pledged to pass a ban by September, reports The Washington Post.

As in Belgium and most parts of Europe, it is uncommon to see women fully covered. Of the 5 million Muslims in France, according to the French Interior Ministry, fewer than 2,000 women wear a veil that covers their entire face.

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