Behind the Veil
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Behind the Veil

A Critical Analysis of European Veiling Laws

Neville Cox

Since the early 2010s, an increasing number of European countries have passed laws that prohibit the wearing of various kinds of Islamic veil in particular circumstances. This insightful book considers the arguments used to justify such laws and analyses the legitimacy of these arguments both generally and in regards to whether such laws can be seen as justified interferences with the rights of women who wish to wear such garments.
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Chapter 3: Veiling and rights

Neville Cox


The application of human rights law to the veiling issue is critical, not least because, to the extent that a law that restricts veiling is interfering with the rights of women who wish to veil, the tendency of many European governments is to characterise such laws as justified interferences with rights. In this chapter, and referring primarily to the European Convention on Human Rights, I assess both the rights that are at play within this issue, and also the typical treaty-based justifications for such laws that are relied on by states. Furthermore, I outline four different elements of the standard approach of the European Court in ‘veiling cases’ that allow it to defer to state policy in this area.

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