Chapter 6: Veiling and societal values
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An increasingly common feature of much recent rhetoric surrounding the Islamic veil (and especially the full-face veil) is that it is repugnant to the foundational values of the particular society. Indeed it is no coincidence that the enactment of many such laws has occurred during a time period that has seen significant increases in support for right wing populist views in many European countries. In this chapter, I consider whether anti-veiling laws can be justified on the basis that they buttress such allegedly foundational, societal values. Two such values are especially important. First there is a concern with a ‘secular’ society – a concern that underpinned laws restricting veiling in both Turkey and France. Secondly there is a concern with an open society – the basis on which the European Court of Human Rights has, recently, upheld the legitimacy of laws prohibiting face veils in public.

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