Laws against veils, mosques fuel anti-Muslim prejudice, says Amnesty International

News Agencies – April 24, 2012


European laws on headscarves and veils are actually fuelling anti-Muslim prejudice, says Amnesty International in a new report. Extremist political movements targeting Muslim practices for criticism have enjoyed a rise in several European countries — as witnessed by French far-right leader Marine Le Pen’s surprisingly strong showing in presidential elections this week.


In that climate, the recently released Amnesty report lists a raft of examples of discrimination against Muslims from Spain to the Netherlands and Turkey, spurred on by laws viewed as anti-Islam. The report, titled “Choice and Prejudice,” pays special attention to national laws or local rules against wearing headscarves or face-covering Islamic veils. France and Belgium ban them outright, as do some towns in Spain and elsewhere.


The human rights group spoke to Muslims who have had trouble getting jobs or had to change schools because of discrimination over their head coverings. The report says Spain and Switzerland, in particular, don’t have strong enough laws against discrimination. Switzerland has banned the construction of new minarets.

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