Monday

27th Jun 2022

Flemish nationalist offers anti-burqa reward

  • Contrasting attire in London: Belgium and France banned the full veil last year, even though few Islamic women wear burqas in Europe (Photo: fabbio)

The European Network Against Racism (Enar), an NGO based in Brussels, has condemned a Flemish nationalist for offering a reward of €250 to anybody who reports Burqa-wearing women to the Belgian police.

Filip Dewinter, from Belgium's right wing Vlaams Belang party, announced the initiative on Tuesday (5 June) after police arrested a 24-year old Burqa-clad woman in Brussels for refusing to remove her veil.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Belgium, like France, banned the full face veil last year, with offenders facing up to €150 in fines.

Belgian authorities say the law applies to anyone who partly or entirely covers their face in a public area whether using an Islamic veil or any other mask.

For his part, De Winter claims police are hesitant to enforce the ban in case it provokes civil unrest and says his reward will put pressure on authorities to do their job.

The NGO says the law in practice stigmatises a specific religious minority.

"This latest action supported by Vlaams Belang chief Filip Dewinter further confirms the racist and xenophobic nature of this party ... [It] is clearly in violation of EU and Belgian laws prohibiting incitement to hatred and discrimination," Enar chairman Chibo Onyej said.

Meanwhile, an Islamist group called Sharia4Belgium on Sunday held a protest in Brussels city centre against the young woman's arrest.

Police in turn arrested 13 members of the group for public disturbance.

Belgium's Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism, a state financed institution, has criticised both Sharia4Belgium and Dewinter for inciting hatred.

Dewinter in April launched a website inciting people to denounce migrants who work on the black. The site was modelled on a similar one launched in the Netherlands by populist politician Geert Wilders.

At the time, the Centre likened Dewinter's initiative to Nazi practices in the 1930s and to the Stasi secret police in east Germany in the Communist period.

Exclusive

Blasphemy and jihad: Macron launches EU debate

France has launched an EU debate on the "extremely sensitive" issue of blasphemy and jihadist violence, in a move that risks further alienating European Muslims.

EU opens door to Ukraine in 'geopolitical' summit

EU leaders will also discuss eurozone issues with European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde, as more and more leaders are worried about voters' distress at soaring inflation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  2. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  4. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022
  5. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBHow price increases affect construction workers
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic think tank examines influence of tech giants

Latest News

  1. Expect Czech EU presidency to downgrade V4 priorities
  2. Big polluters should have no role in planning EU energy policy
  3. G7, Nato, gas anxiety and Ukraine top This WEEK
  4. Death toll rising after thousands storm Spain's wall in Africa
  5. EU summit's uncertainty in the face of economic war
  6. Next winter's gas looms large at EU summer summit
  7. Ukraine becomes EU candidate after 120 days of war
  8. How to enhance EU cybersecurity

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us