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The sociability argument for the Burqa ban: A qualified defence


de Vries, Bouke (2023). The sociability argument for the Burqa ban: A qualified defence. Criminal Law and Philosophy, 17(2):317-337.

Abstract

Over the past decade, countries such as France, Belgium, Denmark, Austria, Latvia, and Bulgaria have banned face-coverings from public spaces. These bans are popularly known as ‘burqa bans’ as they seem to have been drafted with the aim of preventing people from wearing burqas and niqabs specifically. The scholarly response to these bans has been overwhelmingly negative, with several lawyers and philosophers arguing that they violate the human right to freedom of religion. While this article shares some of the concerns that have been raised, it argues that banning face-coverings in public is morally justified under certain conditions with the exception of facemasks that are necessary for the containment of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19. The reason for this is that those who publicly cover their face make it very difficult for other members of society to socially interact with them, especially for those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, which is problematic in an age where many people are chronically lonely or at risk of becoming chronically lonely. As such, this article can be understood as a more elaborate, and arguably more sophisticated, defence of the justification that France offered for its face-covering ban before the European Court of Human Rights, namely that covering one’s face undermines the conditions for ‘living together’.

Abstract

Over the past decade, countries such as France, Belgium, Denmark, Austria, Latvia, and Bulgaria have banned face-coverings from public spaces. These bans are popularly known as ‘burqa bans’ as they seem to have been drafted with the aim of preventing people from wearing burqas and niqabs specifically. The scholarly response to these bans has been overwhelmingly negative, with several lawyers and philosophers arguing that they violate the human right to freedom of religion. While this article shares some of the concerns that have been raised, it argues that banning face-coverings in public is morally justified under certain conditions with the exception of facemasks that are necessary for the containment of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19. The reason for this is that those who publicly cover their face make it very difficult for other members of society to socially interact with them, especially for those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, which is problematic in an age where many people are chronically lonely or at risk of becoming chronically lonely. As such, this article can be understood as a more elaborate, and arguably more sophisticated, defence of the justification that France offered for its face-covering ban before the European Court of Human Rights, namely that covering one’s face undermines the conditions for ‘living together’.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology and the Study of Religion > Center for Ethics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Philosophy
Social Sciences & Humanities > Law
Uncontrolled Keywords:Law, Philosophy
Language:English
Date:1 July 2023
Deposited On:21 Dec 2021 09:58
Last Modified:26 Apr 2024 01:37
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1871-9791
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11572-021-09622-4
Related URLs:https://www.springer.com/journal/11572 (Publisher)
Project Information:
  • : FunderUmea University
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)