Unmasking the Hypocrisy of the Niqab Bans

When and Where

Wednesday, November 24, 2021 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm


Dr. Miriam Zucker


In the last fifteen years many European countries have passed laws that ban the wearing of full-face Muslim veils in public places. In several cases reaching the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR),the court upheld such laws, based on the principle of “living together”. The ECtHR reasoned that the minimum requirements of life in society include the possibility of open interpersonal relationships, which it considered impeded by face-covering garments. Recently, the trend of banning these garments seems to have extended beyond the European continent. For example, Quebec’s “religious symbols” law obliges civil servants to carry out their functions without wearing religious face coverings.

Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many jurisdictions have made facemasks mandatory in public transport and public institutions. While these laws have transformed our public spaces, it appears that we manage to ‘live together’ in these face-covered public spaces. Considering these developments, Dr. Zucker's talk will question the coherency of the Muslim face veil bans.

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Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Osgoode Colloquium on Law Religion & Social Thought, Institute for Feminist Legal Studies at Osgoode