Reuniting Europe

Belgium last week took one step closer to becoming the first European country to outlaw the burqa, the Islamic veils that completely hide a woman’s face.

Over the week-end, MEP Silvana Koch-Mehrin (ALDE, Germany) called for a Europe-wide ban on the burqa because covering women, as she said, “openly supports values that we do not share in Europe.”

I agree with Koch-Mehrin, but I don’t expect the Commission to start a legislative procedure just because one MEP having expressed an opinion.

More pressure is needed to make the EU machinery move. And it is in our hands. According to the Lisbon Treaty, one million signatures gathered throughout the Union can trigger the EU legislative process. Recently, it was decided that the signatures must come from a minimum of nine countries (EurActiv 14/01/10).

I am ready to sign such a citizen initiative and I’m sure it would be followed across the 27 member states. I am fond of history and I know that Islam has nothing to do with transforming women into some sort of phantoms. In Spain, when part of the peninsula was ruled by Moors, the human civilisation at that time attained its heights in terms of culture, sciences, art and art of living. As an example, Jews were not only tolerated, but used to the best of their capacities, as tax collectors, doctors or ambassadors. We can see fresques from that period in which women, without any kind of scarves covering their hair, are depicted, such as in poems, as the pure incarnation of delight.

Such an initiative should not be seen as anti-Islamic. It’s all about human dignity.

Where do I sign?

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