Norway mulling ban on full-face veil in educational institutes

A woman wears a burqa as she walks on a street in Saint-Denis, near Paris, on April 2, 2010.
A woman wears a burqa as she walks on a street in Saint-Denis, near Paris, on April 2, 2010. PHOTO: REUTERS

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway aims to ban face-covering Muslim veils in kindergartens, schools and universities, the government said on Monday (June 12), the latest European nation to propose restrictions on wearing burqas and niqabs.

France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Bulgaria and the German state of Bavaria have all imposed restrictions on wearing full-face veils in public places.

Norway's minority government, a coalition of the centre-right Conservatives and the populist Progress Party, said it was confident it would find opposition support for the move. "We have every reason to believe this will be approved by Parliament," Education Minister Torbjoern Roe Isaksen told Reuters.

Norway, which will hold elections on Sept 11, will be the first country in the Nordics to introduce a ban on burqas for both adults and children.

"Face-covering garment such as the niqab or burqa do not belong in Norwegian schools. The ability to communicate is a basic value," acting Minister of Immigration and Integration Per Sandberg told a news conference.

Employees who insist on wearing a veil would risk losing their jobs, and students could face expulsion from university, he added.