Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

Burka ban update

As mentioned last weekend, I emailed the lijsttrekkers of all the parties standing candidates either in the Leuven district (for the Chamber) or in Flanders (for the Senate), asking for their position on the burka ban, and got the following responses (listed in the order that they will appear on the ballot paper):

Vlaams Belang: not only in favour of it, but claimed to have proposed it before anyone else. [reply from Leuven lijsttrekker]
Lijst Dedecker: "100% in favour". [reply from Leuven lijsttrekker]
Open VLD: supports it, "because we consider that moral values (i.e. respect for dignity of women) prevails over other values." [reply from Senate lijsttrekker who is also national leader]
CD&V: "As Christian-Democrats we believe in 'active pluralism' and the co-existence of various religions in our public area. However, we believe that one should draw a line when certain religious expressions are putting at risk the way we 'live together'. As a political party, we are not in favour of the burqa." [reply from Senate lijsttrekker who is also national leader]
sp.a: no response.
N-VA: "in favour of the burka ban. Although we agree that is the right of every person to express his cultural or religious identity, the burka, by its sheer form, expresses a lack of respect for the western culture, and gives out a signal that integration is not only rejected, but disapproved. Therefore we can not tolerate such an ostensive rejection of western civilization, and its key values. We will thus vote in favour of the burka ban." [reply from Senate lijsttrekker who is also national leader; Leuven lijsttrekker also responded much more briefly along the same lines]
Groen!: Leuven lijsttrekker states that Groen! MPs voted in favour of the Burka ban, but adds, "In line with the viewpoints of human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, I do not agree with this. I think it is laudable to want to do something for women who are forced to wear a niqaab, yet I do not think fining the women (turning victims into perpetrators) is a good way of doing that."
LSP: without answering the question directly, referred me to articles here (in Dutch) and here (in English) which make it clear that they are against. [replies from both Senate lijsttrekker and Leuven lijsttrekker]
CAP: No direct reply to my email, but someone claiming to be one of their Senate candidates posted a comment on my previous post, which unfortunately doesn't really answer the question but instead invites me to organise a public debate (!) about the issue.
PVDA+: Leuven lijsttrekker responds: "I think it's a disgrace that Belgium was in the international news because of this burka ban. This is a completely undemocratic decision but it is above all a non issue. Only once in my entire life have I seen a person in burka on the streets of Brussels and even than all the other arabs were watching this person because it was such an exceptional sight."
Vrijheid: I have no idea who they are, and in any case they did not respond.

Well, I think that's fairly clear; I shall vote for my local Groen! candidate for the Chamber, since she is sound on the issue and stands a chance of being elected, and will throw away my Senate vote for one of the two fringe leftie parties, LSP or PVDA+, as the whim takes me on the day.
Tags: burka ban, world: belgium
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