Seven Countries Where The Burka and Niqab are Banned


CALLS to ban the burka and niqab have reignited the debate over Islamic face veils in the UK. But which countries already have bans?

By Alice Foster

Ukip has long called for a ban Islamic full face veils in Britain and has pointed to laws that exist in other European countries.

The UK does not have a ban on Islamic dress but schools can decide their own dress code and prevent students from wearing face veils.

Here is an overview of countries that have banned the burka, which completely covers the body, and the niqab, which covers the head and face.


France was the first country in Europe to ban Islamic face veils, such as the burka and the niqab, in public places.

The controversial ban took effect in April 2011 and made it illegal for Muslim women to leave their homes with their faces covered.

Women can be fined for wearing a face veil, while anyone who uses threats and violence to forces a woman to wear a veil risks a €30,000 fine and a year in prison.

In July 2014 the European Court of Human Rights upheld the ban.


Belgium was the second European country after France to introduce a ban on full face veils, which outlawed the burka and niqab in public areas.

Women who cover their faces in public places like streets and parks can be fined and sentenced to up to seven days in jail.

The ban came into effect in July 2011.

The Netherlands

The Dutch cabinet last year approved plans to ban the full face Islamic veil in government buildings, schools, hospitals and on public transport.

The ban does not completely outlaw the veil in public, but forbids it in “specific situations where it is essential for people to be seen” or for security reasons.


The Egyptian government has drafted a bill to ban the niqab and burka in public places and government institutions.

The legislation comes after Egypt’s Cairo University banned academic staff from wearing the niqab in classrooms to make it easier to communicate with students.


A majority of the electorate in the Swiss region of Ticino voted in favour of a ban on face veils in public areas in 2013.

The ban came into force in 2016. Muslim women who wear the veil in shops, restaurants or public buildings can be fined up to €9,200 (£7,890).


Lombardy, the wealthiest region in Italy, approved a ban on women wearing the burka in hospitals and local government buildings in December 2015.

It was the first time an Italian region explicitly outlawed Islamic face coverings. Existing laws already prohibit helmets and clothing that make identification difficult in public.


Chad banned women from wearing the full-face veil following two suicide bomb attacks in June 2015.

There are similar bans in parts of Cameroon and Niger as well as Congo-Brazzaville and the Gabon.


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