Which Countries Have Banned Hijab?

Hijab is commonly used to refer to a veil or head scarf that certain Muslim women are required to wear. It is generally used as a means to comply with Islamic rules related to dressing and modesty of women. However, there can be various interpretations of the term based on Quran, Hadith, and several other classical Arabic scriptures.

Globally, several countries have come to identify hijab and full-body covering called burqa as a sign of regressive human tendencies. It has been linked to radicalism and may work against the tenets of a modern society. Due to these reasons, several countries including Muslim-majority countries have banned Hijab. Here’s a quick look at countries that have banned hijab.

Europe – Many countries in Europe such as France, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Belgium and Austria have banned hijab. However, the exact laws vary based on the country. For example, some countries have banned hijab in schools only whereas others have banned it across schools and universities. There are also countries like Denmark that have put a ban on burqa in public places. Rules have also been made in certain European countries where non-compliance with burqa ban can result in fines.

The reasons for these bans are also different. Some countries feel that a hijab or burqa prevents integration with the rest of the society. In other countries, it is felt that wearing burqa could result in security threats.

Muslim countries – Full-face veils are banned in Muslim-majority countries such as Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Syria, Tajikistan, and Tunisia. The ban may be limited to schools / colleges or at workplaces. Many of these countries feel that things like hijab and burqa may promote radicalism and create security risks.

Africa – Countries like Cameroon, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville and Gabon have banned full-face veils like burqa. In these countries, the primary reason for the ban is terror attacks involving burqa-clad women.

Asia – Countries like China and Sri Lanka have banned burqa primarily due to risk of radicalism and security threats.

Citing risk of radicalism and security threats, several other countries are having discussions on banning things like hijab and full-face veils like burqa. The opposition is primarily in the context of schools, colleges, universities, public places and work places. The rationale is that wearing overt religious clothing can create divisions between people in the group. Full face veils like burqa are also a major security risk.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are also countries like Iran, Afghanistan, etc. where hijab and burqa are compulsory. Neutral countries like US, Canada, UK, etc. neither have a ban nor support the wearing of hijab or burqa. It remains to be seen how things like hijab and burqa will evolve in 21st century and beyond.

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