Sunday, November 17, 2019

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Article Index

Belgium

The CEOOR and other NGOs reported that skin color and dress associated with Islam were the most important factors contributing to intolerance and discrimination, especially in the areas of housing, education, and employment. Muslim women who wore headscarves faced particular discrimination in professional-level employment. On July 23, a national ban on wearing the full-face veil in public places came into effect, and there have been three known instances of the ban being enforced. In the first, the husband of a woman wearing a full-face veil became upset and hit a police officer when police demanded she remove her veil to identify herself; in the second, the police issued a fine to two women wearing full-face veils in a courtroom. The women

were there in conjunction with a lawsuit they had filed challenging the constitutionality of the ban; and in the third, on December 27 a woman wearing a niqab while shopping was stopped by the police, causing a physical altercation with the husband. Offenders may be fined 137.50 euros ($178) and face up to seven days in jail.

In 2010 most complaints received by the CEOOR concerned nationality and ethnic descent (42 percent), physical disabilities (18 percent), and discrimination on the grounds of religious and philosophical orientation (12 percent). Discriminatory acts primarily took place at work or over the Internet. The CEOOR deemed 22 percent of the complaints it received to be justified.

Data released by the Ministry of Justice indicated that in 2010 the courts dismissed 60 percent of cases of alleged discrimination based on ethnicity or sexual orientation.

Vernellia R. Randall
Founder and Editor
Professor Emerita of Law
The University of Dayton School of Law

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