A Critical Analysis of European Veiling Laws
Chapter 7: Veiling and the rights of others
It is occasionally argued that the practice of veiling interferes with the rights of other people in society – and on a number of occasions, the European Court of Human Rights has deemed anti-veiling laws to be justified, in part, by reference to the ‘rights of others’ in society. These rights fall under three headings – the right not to be presented with something that generates a negative emotional reaction (typically offence or intimidation), the right not to be presented with something that might be ideologically influential or generate a pressure to conform, and the right to live with other people in an open society. In this chapter I consider these ‘rights’ and conclude that not merely do they not justify the interference with the actual rights of wearers that an anti-veiling law entails, but that, in addition, they are illusions.
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