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Brussels-City allows demo against headscarf ban – within limits

The city council for Brussels-City has given the go-ahead for a demonstration against a ban on wearing the Islamic headscarf in public offices and in schools.

However the council warned the organisers they could be fined if the numbers taking part exceed 400.

The demonstration on Sunday on the Mont des Arts is being organised by a group calling itself Belges Comme Vous, as well as the feminist collective Imazi-Reine.

“The country in which we work and study, where we are socially engaged and have a deep desire for emancipation, education and development, must be a country that is inclusive and where mutual respect dictates the law,” the group said on its Facebook page.

A group of former students joined with the equal opportunities agency Unia to contest the ban introduced at the university college Francisco Ferrer in central Brussels.

However the Constitutional Court ruled that the headscarf and other religious signs were not compatible with the neutrality decree that governs both the school and the municipality of Brussels-City.

Demonstrations have been allowed again since the national security council announced its next phase of the exit strategy last week. The limit on participants of 400 will be observed, the city said, or the organisers will be held responsible.

Other conditions include wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing.

To date, more than 2,000 people have expressed a willingness to take part.

“We must continue to fight for this right,” one student told Bruzz. “It is ridiculous that we are still telling women in 2020 how to dress.”

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

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