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 4: Terrorism, national security and the Islamic veil

Neville Cox


A number of European states have cited national security concerns to justify their ‘anti-veiling’ laws. In this chapter I consider the nature of these concerns, and also assess whether they warrant any kind of prohibition of veiling. I suggest that, in fact, there is no evidence that even the Islamic face veil is any kind of a security threat and, indeed, that some of the security concerns that are referenced, if they can be used to justify restrictions on veiling, should also be used to justify restrictions on non-controversial things such as the wearing of sunglasses and the use of mobile phones. Finally I suggest that, whether or not this is the intended effect of veiling laws that are justified in the name of national security, they will inevitably fuel an undeserved suspicion of veil-wearing women and, more broadly, of Muslims generally.

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