FRANCE: After passing a 2004 law banning Muslim headscarves and other “ostentatious” religious symbols from classrooms, France’s government submitted a draft law this week on a ban on face-covering veils. The bill could be debated this spring.
NETHERLANDS: The Dutch government considered but abandoned legislation in 2006 for a total ban on Muslim veils, after lawyers said it would likely be unconstitutional. Instead, it said it would seek a ban on face-covering veils in all schools and prevent government employees from wearing them. No legislation has yet been passed.
BRITAIN: The issue of full-body veils has largely faded from the spotlight since then British Prime Minister Tony Blair called it a “mark of separation” in 2006. The coverings are more visible on the streets of London than many other European cities.
ITALY: Has a law requiring people to keep their faces visible in public, dating to Italy’s crackdown on domestic terrorism decades ago. Representatives of Italy’s Muslim community say it’s rarely applied in the case of women wearing veils.
BELGIUM: The mayor of Maaseik banned face-covering veils in 2004, but there is no general ban across the country.
GERMANY: Several states in the country, which has a large Muslim immigrant community, have banned teachers from wearing headscarves in public schools.
SWITZERLAND: The Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said in November the government could “study a possible ban” of face-covering veils if more Muslim women begin wearing them. She said they make her feel “uncomfortable.”
UNITED STATES: Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences this month banned veils that obscure the face for security reasons. A Muslim rights group is asking the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces anti-discrimination laws, to investigate.
TURKEY: Islamic-style headscarves and full robes are banned in schools, universities and in government offices.
EGYPT: In October, Egypt’s top Islamic cleric banned face veils in classrooms and dormitories of Sunni Islam’s premier institute of learning, al-Azhar, part of government efforts to curb radical Islamic practices.
TUNISIA: Headscarves and full veils are banned from public buildings and schools.