chapter  11
European law and the veil
Muslim women from victims to emblems of the enemy
WithSusanna Mancini
Pages 10

Measures such as the burkini bans testify to a growing public discomfort concerning the increasing diversity of European societies, and, particularly, concerning the public visibility of Islam. Drawing on political actors and social movements, anti-Muslim racism infiltrates decision-making processes, legislation and the judiciary in virtually all European jurisdictions, despite their deep divergences in the management of law and religion. In Belgium, a law that criminalizes the mere wearing of facial veils in all public places came into effect in July 2011, targeting no more than 200 women. In 2009, the Danish government commissioned a study in connection with the political discussion on banning face veils. Anti-veil measures target women in the workforce and, in the case of full-veil bans, in all public spaces, that is, women who claim a space in the European public sphere. Between 2010 and 2011 France and Belgium adopted laws criminalizing the wearing of facial veils in all public places.