Belgium town backtracks on ban on religious symbols

The Boom Municipality has had to take a step backward on a ban on religious symbols, including headscarves, for members of the municipal council due to rising criticism from society.

Belgium town backtracks on ban on religious symbols

World Bulletin/News Desk

The Boom Municipality, located in the Belgian province of Antwerp, has had to take a step backward on a ban on religious symbols, including headscarves, for members of the municipal council due to rising criticism from society.

The coalition of Flemish nationalists, Christian democrats and liberals voluntarily decided to withdraw the ban on Tuesday.

A statement released by the municipality said the dress code of the municipality had been extended to include elected representatives last week, but the move was too much and so it has been withdrawn.

Wouter Beke, leader of the Christian Democratic and Flemish Party (CD&V), was one of the most outspoken critics of the ban on religious symbols and had called for the ban to be withdrawn as soon as possible because it was not based in law.

Antwerp Mayor Bart De Wever was also critical of the ban and described it as unconstitutional.

Jozef De Witte, director of the Center for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism in Belgium, criticized those behind the ban, accusing them of undermining the foundations of democracy.

“How can you expect politicians to hide their beliefs? What will you do with the parties whose names begin with C [referring to Christian]?” he said, adding that democracy is the art of making it possible for different ideas to live together.

Last Mod: 25 Nisan 2013, 15:06
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