Western democracy versus Muslims
The anti-Muslims Law passed by the legislature in Denmark in June came into force. The law prohibits wearing full-face veil by Muslim women in public, making it a cognizable offence liable to punishment in the form of fine. Wearing a Burqa, which covers a person’s entire face, or the Niqab, which only shows the eyes in public, leads to a fine of 1000 Kroner equivalent of $156 or 134 Euros. The ban also targets other accessories that hide the face such as balaclavas. Repeated violations will be fined up to 10,000 Kroner.
Human rights campaigners have slammed the ban as violation of women rights, while supporters argue that the legislation will facilitate better integration of Muslims into Danish society. A spokesman for Copenhagen police said that they did not plan to fine protestors who violated the ban.
A-30 years-old Muslim women interviewed in the daily Berlingske, identified as Sarah, said she had lost faith in the system. Born and raised in Denmark by parents who emigrated from Turkey she has worn Niqab since she was 18. She said, “I have realized that democracy does not work. Politicians boast of freedom and rights when they are making fun of Muslims. But when it comes to me, they take away my rights to choose how I want to dress.” “I have come to the realization that Muslims do not have the rights as others,” she added.
While presenting the draft of full-face veil ban law in the parliament, the Danish Justice Minister Soren Pape had said, “I do not think there are many who wear the Burqa in Denmark. But if you do you would be punished.” According to the Justice Minister Burqa and Niqab were not compatible with the values and sense of community in Danish society.
Amnesty International has condemned the law as discriminatory and violation of women rights, especially against Muslim women who choose to wear the full-face-veil. “If the intention of this law is to protect women rights it fails abjectly. Instead the law criminalises women for their choice of clothing—making a mockery of freedom Denmark purports to uphold,” Deputy Europe Director Fotis Flipoon said in a statement.
Over the last eight years, the religious and cultural values of Muslims are being targeted across Europe for which legislations are done. Full-face veil has become a hot button issue now. Last year European Court of Human Rights upheld a Belgian ban on wearing full-face veil in public. France was the first country to ban the Niqab in public places with a law that took effect in 2011. German law makers approved a partial ban on covering the face.
The new tide of Islamphobia has anti-Turkic connotations as the Turkish Muslims are particularly targeted. The political leadership in the West European countries is frequently getting flash-back of the grandeur of Ottoman Empire in Europe and Asia. The growing influence of Turkey in East European countries including Serbia, Bulgaria and Balkan States with majority Muslim population such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Kosovo has irked the far right politicians in Germany, Austria and other countries of Western Europe. Most surprising for them is the blossoming trade and growing political relationship between Turkey and Serbia, where once anti-Turkish sentiments were wide spread. Serbian main highway, part of the artery linking Turkey with Western Europe, illustrates the change. In recent years billboards in Turkish have sprung up advertising hotels and restaurants for weary truck drivers. Signs pointing out the nearest mosques tend to use the Turkish word Mescit rather than the Serbian word Zamija. This explains the crackdown against Turkish community in Austria. Seven mosques were shut down there and 40 Imams were expelled. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has emerged as a strong and vocal leader in the Muslim Ummah because of his assertive and aggressive foreign policy in the conduct of world affairs. But the European leadership must not forget that anti-Muslim legislations and virtual crackdown on Muslim communities will push back the hitherto tolerant and moderate western society to the ‘Draconian Era’ of Church inquisitions. The tide of hate against Muslims serves a lesson for those rulers of Islamic countries who acted as proxies of the United States in its global agenda of ‘New World Order.’