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Belgian city lifts ban on headscarves

WASHINGTON – A Belgian city, Ghent, has reversed its ban on civil servants wearing headscarves put into effect in 2007. Socialist and Green Party council members overturned the ban.

hijab [1]Reuters [2], on reporting on the issue, blamed “center-right parties” pushed these efforts in the city council. A petition of 10,000 citizen’s signatures was collected and restarted the discussion over the civil servant headscarf ban.

It took four hours to discuss the headscarf ban and took  until midnight late last Monday night. When the ban was put into practice, it banned Muslim women from wearing headscarves at public counters in city offices.

A local activist, Naima Charkaoui, said that “this is a historic turning point for ethnic and cultural minorities”.

Ghent was not the first European town to ban headscarves. Belgium banned face-covering veils for anyone in public in 2011 and other cities have headscarf bans. France has banned the wearing of religious symbols like the Islamic headscarf in schools.