Laws Restricting Face-Coverings and Religious Symbols

Compiled by David Rand

Updated 2021-03-15

Summary

Bans on face-coverings

  • In public
    • Austria since 2017-10
    • Belgium since 2011-07-23
    • Bulgaria since 2016-09
    • Cameroon since 2015-07
    • Chad since 2015-06
    • China [Xinjiang] since 2017
    • Congo-Brazzaville since 2015
    • Denmark since 2018-08-01
    • Egypt since 2016
    • France since 2011-04-11
    • Italy [Some northern regions] since 1975
    • Morocco since 2017-01
    • Morocco since 2018
    • Niger [Diffa] since 2015
    • Sri Lanka since 2021-03-13
    • Switzerland since 2021-03-07
    • Switzerland [Canton of Saint-Gall] since 2018-09-23
    • Switzerland [Canton of Ticino] since 2016-07-01
  • In public services
    • Canada [Quebec] since 2019-06-16
    • Italy [Lombardy] since 2016-01-01
    • Malaysia since 1994
    • Netherlands since 2019-08-01
    • Tunisia since 2019-07-05
  • Worn by public servants while on duty
    • Algeria since 2018-10-18
    • Germany since 2017-04
    • Germany [Land of Bavaria] since 2017-02

Bans on religious symbols

  • Worn by public servants while on duty
    • France since 2007
    • Germany [Land of Berlin]
    • Germany [Land of Hesse]
    • Switzerland [Canton of Geneva] since 2019-02-10
  • Worn by public servants in positions of authority
    • Canada [Quebec] since 2019-06-16
  • In public schools
    • Belgium [Boussu] since 2019-10
    • Belgium [Bruxelles]
    • France since 2004
    • United States of America [Pennsylvania] since 1895
Country
[Region]
Date Restrictions & Notes References
Algeria 2018
  • Ban on face coverings in public schools.
  • Decision by the Ministry of Education to enforce an existing rule (original date unknown).
Algeria 2018-10-18
  • Ban on face coverings worn by public servants while on duty.
  • Official ban on the full veil (niqab) in the workplace, published by the Direction
    Générale de la Fonction Publique (DGFP).
Austria 2017-05
[Effective: 2017-10]
  • Ban on face coverings in public.
  • Ban on the quran in public.
Austria 2018
[Effective: 2019-05]
  • Ban on hijabs in child-care centres.
  • Ban on hijabs in primary schools.
Belgium 2011-06-01
[Effective: 2011-07-23]
  • Ban on face coverings in public.
Belgium
[Boussu]
2019-10
  • Ban on religious symbols in public schools.
  • The municipal council of Boussu (near Mons) has decided that, henceforth, any symbols
    of political, ideological or religious affiliation, including those worn as clothing,
    will be banned in schools.
Belgium
[Bruxelles]
  • Ban on religious symbols in public schools.
Belgium
[Ghent]
2007
[Repealed: 2013-05-27]
  • Ban on religious symbols worn by public servants while on duty.
Belgium
  • Ban on religious symbols worn by judges, police, military and fire-fighters.
Bulgaria 2016-09
  • Ban on face coverings in public.
Cameroon 2015-07
  • Ban on face coverings in public.
  • The ban was adopted following suicide bombings by people wearing veils.
  • The ban is now active in five of the country’s provinces.
Canada
[Quebec]
2017-10-18
[Repealed: 2018-12]
  • Ban on face coverings in public services.
  • Bill 62
  • The ban is extremely weak because of exceptions allowed by the law.
  • The ban (section 10 of Bill 62) has been temporarily suspended by Quebec Superior
    Court as of December 2017.
Canada
[Quebec]
2019-06-16
  • Ban on religious symbols worn by public servants in positions of authority, including public school teachers.
  • Ban on face coverings in public services.
  • Bill 21
Chad 2015-06
  • Ban on face coverings in public.
China
[Xinjiang]
2017
  • Ban on face coverings in public.
  • Ban on Islamic beards in public.
Congo-Brazzaville 2015
  • Ban on face coverings in public.
  • Congo-Brazzaville’s official name is Republic of the Congo, not to be confused with
    Congo-Kinshasa or the Democratic Republic of the Congo whose capital is Kinshasa.
Denmark 2008
  • Ban on religious symbols worn by judges in courtrooms.
Denmark 2018-05-31
[Effective: 2018-08-01]
  • Ban on face coverings in public.
Egypt 2016
  • Ban on face coverings in public.
  • Ban on face coverings worn by academic university personnel.
France 2004
  • Ban on religious symbols in public schools.
France 2007
  • Ban on religious symbols worn by public servants while on duty.
France 2010-10-11
[Effective: 2011-04-11]
  • Ban on face coverings in public.
  • France was the first European country to institute a nationalwide ban on the full
    veil in public.
France 2016
[Repealed: 2016-08-26]
  • Ban on the burkini in public.
  • The burkini ban was overthrown by France’s highest administrative court.
France 2019-05
[Repealed: 2019-06-13]
  • Ban on religious symbols worn by facilitators of extracurricular activities.
Germany 2017-04
  • Ban on face coverings worn by public servants while on duty.
Germany
[Land of Baden-Württemberg ]
2020-07-21
  • Ban on face coverings in public schools.
  • The ban on face coverings now applies to school children. It already applied to teachers.
Germany
[Land of Bavaria]
2017-02
  • Ban on face coverings worn by public servants while on duty.
Germany
[Land of Berlin]
  • Ban on religious symbols worn by public servants while on duty.
  • The ban applies in the Land of Berlin.
Germany
[Land of Hesse]
  • Ban on religious symbols worn by public servants while on duty.
  • The ban applies in the Land of Hesse in the centre-west of Germany.
  • This ban was clarified by the German Constitutional Court which ruled, on 2020-02-27,
    that trainees may not wear the Islamic veil during court sessions.
Germany
[Kiel University]
2019-02-13
  • Ban on face coverings worn in university classrooms.
  • Kiel is the capital of the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein.
Iran 1936
[Repealed: 1979]
  • Ban on hijabs in public.
  • Ban on chadors in public.
  • Ban instituted by Pahlavi ruler Reza Shah.
Italy
[Some northern regions]
1975
  • Ban on face coverings in public.
Italy
[Lombardy]
2015-12
[Effective: 2016-01-01]
  • Ban on face coverings in public services.
  • Ban on the burkini in public.
Malaysia 1994
  • Ban on face coverings in public services.
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hijab_by_country#Malaysia
Morocco 2017-01
  • Ban on face coverings in public.
Morocco 2018
  • Ban on face coverings in public.
  • Ban on face coverings: manufacture and sale forbidden.
  • It is henceforth forbidden to manufacture, sell or wear the burqa, a traditional article
    of clothing worn by the Pashtun tribes of Afghanistan.
Netherlands 2018-06
[Effective: 2019-08-01]
  • Ban on face coverings in public services.
  • More precisely: Ban on wearing clothing that completely covers the face or only shows
    the eyes, in educational institutions, on public transport, in government institutions
    and hospitals.
Niger
[Diffa]
2015
  • Ban on face coverings in public.
  • Diffa is a southern region of the country, bordering on a part of Nigeria where Boko
    Haram is active.
Russia
[Stavropol]
2013-07
  • Ban on hijabs in public.
  • July, 2013 is the date that Russia’s Supreme Court upheld the ban.
Spain
[Barcelona and other parts of Catalonia]
2010
[Repealed: 2013]
  • Ban on face coverings in public services.
  • The ban was adopted only in some parts of Catalonia.
  • The repeal occurred only in some parts of Catalonia and is maintained in others.
Sri Lanka 2021-03-13
  • Ban on face coverings in public.
  • Face-coverings were previously banned starting in April 2019 but that ban was later
    lifted.
Switzerland 2016-09
[Effective: 2021-03-07]
  • Ban on face coverings in public.
  • Approved by referendum, March 7th 2021.
Switzerland
[Canton of Geneva]
2019-02-10
  • Ban on religious symbols worn by public servants while on duty.
  • In November 2019, the ban on religious symbols in parliaments was repealed.
Switzerland
[Canton of Saint-Gall]
2018-09-23
  • Ban on face coverings in public.
Switzerland
[Canton of Ticino]
2013-09
[Effective: 2016-07-01]
  • Ban on face coverings in public.
Tunisia 1987-08-12
  • Ban on Islamic veils worn by public servants while on duty.
Tunisia 2019-07-05
  • Ban on face coverings in public services.
Turkey 1923
[Repealed: 2013]
  • Ban on religious symbols worn by public servants while on duty.
  • The ban applied to all veils, including the hijab, i.e. not just those which cover
    the face.
  • The repeal applied to the hijab, but the ban remained in effect in the judiciary,
    military and police.
  • The repeal was extended to the police in August 2016, so policewomen may now wear
    the hijab.
United States of America 1837
[Repealed: 2019]
  • Ban on head coverings worn by members in the legislative assembly.
  • The repeal was announced in late 2018 and is expected to become effective in 2019.
United States of America
[Nebraska]
1919
[Repealed: 2017]
  • Ban on religious symbols in public schools.
United States of America
[Pennsylvania]
1895
  • Ban on religious symbols in public schools.
  • It is expected that the ban will be repealed very soon.

References

  1. 20 Minutes avec AFP, Egypte : Le port du niqab interdit pour les enseignantes de l’université du Caire
  2. Agence France-Presse, Dutch approve partial ban on burqa wearing in public
  3. Agence France-Presse, Full veil banned in Niger over Boko Haram fears
  4. Agence France-Presse, Genève interdit aux employés publics de porter des signes religieux
  5. AFP, Pays-Bas: début de l’interdiction de la burqa dans les espaces publics
  6. Agence France-Presse, Le voile bientôt banni de l’école en Autriche
  7. Agence France-Presse, Le voile désormais autorisé dans le Congrès américain
  8. Agence France-Presse, Stockholm, Le voile intégral interdit dans l’espace public au Danemark
  9. AFP, La Suisse adopte l’initiative anti-burqa d’une courte majorité
  10. Agerholm, Harriet, Morocco bans burqa over security concerns
  11. AlgerieMondeInfos, Maroc : interdiction de la fabrication, la vente et le port de la burqa
  12. ATS, St-Gall devient le deuxième canton à interdire la burqa
  13. Ayoye Monde, L’Égypte songe maintenant bannir la burqa
  14. Baele, Myriam, La Ville de Bruxelles rappelle l’interdiction du voile pour les sorties scolaires
  15. BBC, The Islamic veil across Europe
  16. Blair, David, Why West Africa’s Muslim-majority states are banning the burqa
  17. Canada, Parlement, Le maintien de l’ordre et le décorum
  18. Canada, Parliament, Rules of Order and Decorum
  19. CNEWS, L’Égypte veut interdire le niqab dans les lieux publics
  20. Dearden, Lizzie, Austrian parliament passes burqa ban seeing Muslim women face £130 fines for wearing full-face veils
  21. Dearden, Lizzie, Burqa bans: After Angela Merkel calls for prohibition on full veils, what is the situation in other European countries?
  22. Dearden, Lizzie, China bans burqas and ‘abnormal’ beards in Muslim province of Xinjiang
  23. Dearden, Lizzie, German parliament votes in favour of partial burqa ban
  24. Dearden, Lizzie, German state bans burqa in schools and government buildings as part of ‘Christian values’
  25. Deutsche Welle, German state bans burqas, niqabs in schools
  26. Deutsche Welle, Kiel University bans full-face veil in classrooms
  27. Devaney, Beulah Maud, Listen to what Muslim women in the Netherlands say about the Dutch burqa ban and you’ll realise why it won’t stop radicalisation
  28. [other], ECOWAS LEADERS SEEK TO BAN WEARING OF HIJABS (FULL FACE VEILS)
  29. Éditeur officiel du Québec, Loi sur la laïcité de l’État
  30. Evans, Stephen, Do Burqa Bans Do More Harm Than Good?
  31. The Express Tribune, Burqas distributed among schoolgirls in K-P
  32. E. Brl., Boussu: les signes religieux clairement interdits dans les écoles communales de l’entité
  33. Foster, Alice, Where in the world are the burka and niqab banned?
  34. franceinfo avec Reuters, La Tunisie interdit le port du niqab dans les établissements publics
  35. Gagné, Jean-Simon, Port de signes religieux: la carte des interdictions européennes
  36. Govan, Fiona, Spain overturns Islamic face veil ban
  37. HuffPost Algérie, Le directeur général des douanes rappelle que le port du voile est interdit selon la réglementation en vigueur
  38. Huffpost Tunisie, La présidence du gouvernement interdit l’entrée aux bâtiments publics aux personnes dont le visage serait couvert
  39. Johnson, Boris, Denmark has got it wrong. Yes, the burka is oppressive and ridiculous – but that’s still no reason to ban it
  40. Karunatilake, Waruna, Sri Lanka to ban burqa, shut many Islamic schools, minister says
  41. K.F., Signes religieux dans l’administration : Molenbeek va modifier son règlement de travail
  42. Klijnman, Carline, Islamic Veil and Distribution of Quran Banned in Austria
  43. Krasimirov, Angel, Bulgaria bans full-face veils in public places
  44. Le Figaro avec AFP, Un employeur peut interdire le port du voile au travail, selon l’avocat général de la CJUE
  45. Le Monde avec AFP, La justice allemande valide l’interdiction du voile pour les juristes en audience
  46. Maithripala Sirisena, Sri Lanka bans any form of face covering that will hinder the identification of a person under emergency regulations.
  47. Makedhi, Madjid, Interdiction du niqab à l’école
  48. Magazine Marianne, Interdiction de la burqa dans des espaces publics : les Pays-Bas s’y mettent
  49. Namazie, Maryam, Britain should ban the niqab
  50. Namazie, Maryam, Neither Veil nor Submission
  51. ng/amp, German court: Sikhs have to wear helmets on motorbikes
  52. Oltermann, Philip, Austria approves headscarf ban in primary schools
  53. Ouest-France avec AFP, Sénégal. Une école catholique refuse d’admettre des élèves voilées lors de la rentrée
  54. Québec Official Publisher, An Act respecting the laicity of the State
  55. Reuters Staff, Barcelona to ban veil in public buildings
  56. RTBF, La ville de Gand supprime l’interdiction du voile pour ses employés
  57. RT France, Le port du voile à l’école bientôt interdit en Belgique ? Ce qu’il en est chez ses voisins (VIDEO)
  58. RT, Interdire la burqa ? Un canton suisse vote massivement pour
  59. RT, Le voile islamique restera finalement autorisé lors des sorties scolaires
  60. Sanghani, Radhika, Burka bans: The countries where Muslim women can’t wear veils
  61. Shérazade, Le gouvernement Algérien interdit le voile intégral « niqab » dans les lieux de travail
  62. Sioui, Marie-Michèle, Québec renonce une fois de plus à défendre sa loi sur la neutralité religieuse
  63. Smith, Roff, Why Turkey Lifted Its Ban on the Islamic Headscarf
  64. Stickings, Tim, EGYPT considers banning the burqa in crackdown against Islamic extremists
  65. Trudel, Pierre, Interdiction du voile jugée valide par la Cour européenne des droits
  66. Vignal, François, Sorties scolaires : le Sénat vote pour l’interdiction du port du voile pour les mères accompagnatrices
  67. Willingham, A. J., New Muslim congresswoman will seek to allow religious headwear in the House

One comment on “Laws Restricting Face-Coverings and Religious Symbols
  1. Fouad khoury says:

    Unfortunately in Canada
    Our charter of rights is too
    Vague. Should be revised
    And modified to face those
    Who are trying to impose their imported ideology and
    Culture.

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