The Leuven municipal council voted down a proposal by Vlaams Belang to ban civil servants from wearing the headscarf. By a large majority, only three of 45 councilors supported the proposal. Hagen Goyvaerts of Vlaams Belang pointed out that ethics codes provide for workers to stay neutral during working hours, and may not conduct religious propaganda; therefore the party sees the headscarf as a religious symbol that stands in conflict with this notion. Els Van Hoof (of CD&V) agreed that workers ought to remain neutral, but argued that this pertains to behavior, and not to clothing, and that such ban would be detrimental by making it more difficult for immigrant women to find work.
The Municipal council of Lier, a city in the Antwerp province of Belgium, approved a ban on the wearing of religious symbols for counter personnel. The approval of the disputed proposal caused angry reactions by many immigrants who followed the meeting. After the Vlaams Belang party retracted the proposal for a total headscarf-ban for city personnel, the party approved a tone-down proposal. The city has one employee who wears a headscarf, who cited the ban as a personal attack. However, the woman will not have to remove the garment as she is not considered a _counter’ worker.
Ghent, Belgium’s third largest city, has banned employees from wearing Muslims headscarves and other religious or political symbols. The ban was proposed by the Flemish liberal party, and approved by the city council. All city personnel such as librarians, child care workers, and such will not be allowed to wear such garments if they come into contact with the public.