7 August 2012
The Police Union Trade, sent to the Police General Director, Ignacio Cosidó, a written request to draw up rules on how to act to identify Muslim women wearing hijab or burqa, hiding partly or wholly their face. The petition is due to problems arising when these women seek access to police stations to report or make other arrangements.
The Union maintains that ” the number of citizens who come to the police to perform various actions wearing hijab or burqa has increased” which precludes their full identification, or at least, makes it difficult.
The current rules are clear on the issue of documents such as passport or ID card: Muslim women can wear the Islamic veil, whenever it leaves the face completely uncovered in the picture. The regulation is not as accurate, however, when women go to the police to carry out procedures and must pass the security checkpoint.
News Agencies – August 7, 2012
A French Muslim woman has been charged with assault and inciting a riot after she refused a police ID check because she was wearing a banned full-face veil.
The 18-year-old is to appear in court in the northern city of Lille charged with assault, insulting police and inciting a riot after police tried to take her to a station for refusing to provide identification.
A French law passed in 2011, the first of its kind to be enforced in Europe, banned the wearing of the full-face-covering Islamic veil.
The law came into effect at an already fraught moment in relations between the state and France’s Muslim minority − the largest in Europe − with then president Nicolas Sarkozy accused of stigmatizing Islam to win back votes from a resurgent far right in this year’s election.
Supporters of the law have defended it as a measure aimed at supporting women’s rights although the text makes it clear that a woman cannot choose herself to cover her face in public.
The woman, arrested on Saturday, was stopped by officers in Roubaix, outside northern France’s largest city of Lille.
She allegedly said she did not have time and did not want to show her ID card and covered herself up with another veil as she walked away, the police source said, asking not to be named.
When police tried to take her to the station, she allegedly grabbed hold of a vehicle and started kicking, punching and screaming, the source added.
She allegedly tried to bite police and scratched one of them before being taken into custody. None of the officers were hurt.
In a similar incident on July 24, three officers in the southern city of Marseille sustained minor injuries after they stopped a fully veiled woman by a mosque. The woman, two men and a minor are due in court over the alleged assault.
News Agencies – January 13, 2012
A Sikh man in France has won the backing of the United Nations Human Rights Committee in his fight over religious headgear. It said France was violating Sikhs’ religious freedom by forcing them to remove their turbans when having photos taken for passports and ID cards. Ranjit Singh, 76, said he had turned to the UN because he found the French policy disrespectful and unnecessary.
Sikhs in France have been fighting a long battle over the turban. In 2004 France passed a law banning religious signs in schools. This included turbans and Muslim headscarves.
In 2008 the European Court of Human Rights dismissed an appeal on grounds of security.
It said that whilst Shingara Singh’s religious rights had been infringed, France was justified to ban the turban on the driver’s licence photo because the turban posed a security risk of fraud and falsification. That is when Ranjit Singh decided to file a case to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC). It has now judged that a turban does not pose a risk to security.
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney doesn’t believe in banning the burqa. But Mr. Kenney does think Canadians, Muslim or otherwise, should have to identify themselves visually when voting in federal elections. These comments emerged relating to Bill C-623, a private member’s bill from Conservative MP Steven Blaney. Bill C-623 mandates that “en elector shall have an uncovered face when the elector is proving his or her identity.” But it does not change the acceptable ways of proving one’s identity. One can still provide either a driver’s licence or health card (as long as it has your photograph, name and address on it), or “two pieces of identification authorized by the Chief Electoral Officer each of which establish the elector’s name and at least one of which establishes the elector’s address” — a hydro bill and a bank statement, for example.
MPs are trying to require voters to show both photo ID and their faces, so a poll worker can compare the former to the latter. However, it’s true that it’s illogical to worry about Muslim women hypothetically voting while veiled even as 250,000 people vote by mail, but that discrepancy already exists: We demand identification of people who vote in person, but not of those who vote by mail.
While many Western countries have increased their security measures after the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day, in some parts, such as in Lower Saxony in Germany, heavy monitoring of mosques and Muslim-frequented cafes is standard police procedure. For years this policy has increasingly outraged German Muslims while failing to yield a single terrorism-related arrest.
In Lower Saxony, Muslim worshippers heading to Friday services routinely arrive to find the street in front of the mosque cordoned off and armed police at the entrance. Those entering or leaving the mosque must show their identification papers. Sometimes the police search bags, ask questions, or bring those who cannot show ID to the precinct station. In one city, officers stamped Muslims on the arm after checking them.
In these controls, known as “unmotivated mosque checks,” the police are not seeking any specific person or investigating any particular crime. Rather, they are acting under a 2003 state law that empowers them to question and search individuals in public places regardless of any suspicion of wrongdoing in the interest of preventing crimes of “grave and international concern.”
The Islam Democrats (ID) party, which has held a seat on the Hague municipal council since 2006, has denounced the municipality’s decision to cancel gender segregated swimming used mostly by Muslim women. City officials made the decision on the basis that men and women should meet while exercising, while supporters of the separate swimming have denounced the decision as “symbol-politics”.
Last week the Guardian uncovered a report by MI5 suggesting there is no single pathway to Islamic extremism. What a surprise! And in a further deconstruction of preconceptions, the report found evidence that a well-established religious identity actually protects against violent radicalisation. If this is the case, what are the implications for racial and religious profiling? The report clearly dismantles any assumptions that can be made about the identity, background and religiosity of a would-be terrorist. The UK’s Muslim population is a mere 2.8% but is so ethnically diverse that the government could cynically use this report to sanction the continuing infringement of civil liberties of the entire population through ID cards, surveillance and so on. The sounding the death knell for racial profiling is something to celebrate, but I wonder whether my optimism is premature. Adam Khan, 28, from North London also has his reservations, after repeatedly being stopped and interrogated under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 when trying to return to the UK. Samia Rahman reports.
Muslim women who wear veils covering their face will not have to take them off to vote in by-elections later this month in a French-speaking Canadian province where the issue of the traditional hijab has been heatedly contested. Instead, women who wear niqabs – which cover the entire face except for the eyes – or a burqa, an all-covering body veil, can bring a photo ID or another document proving their identity when they vote in the Quebec elections, said Elections Canada spokesman John Enright. But those unable to sufficiently prove their identity must show their faces, he said. The decision comes after the province’s chief election officer required Muslim women to show their faces in order to be allowed to vote in last March’s election. The decision was condemned by Muslim groups who said it forced the women in question to decide whether to adhere to their religious beliefs or violate their faith and vote.
LONDON – In a move to assure its Muslim community introduction of the first ID cards in Britain since the Second World War was not signaling them out, the government will reportedly exempt Muslim women from showing their faces on the controversial ID cards. On Monday, April 26, British Home Secretary, David Blunkett is to unveil plans for a national pilot of biometric testing, the technology used in ID cards, as part of a draft Bill to crack down on identity fraud, according to the Independent daily Sunday, April 25. As cards introduction, Blunkett came under severe attacks for not allowing enough debate over the ID British officials made it clear that if Muslim women do not want to reveal their faces in public, that would be respected, reported the Observer Sunday. “Instead of a photograph, there would be an exemption for certain people, who would only have to give fingerprint and iris-recognition data.
By John Deane, Chief Political Correspondent Britain’s most high profile police officer has called for the rapid introduction of a national identity card scheme as a tool in the struggle against terrorism. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens said there was an urgent need to enhance the authorities’ ability to check identities – and ID cards should be introduced “the sooner, the better.” At his monthly press conference on Thursday, Prime Minister Tony Blair indicated that ID cards were moving up the political agenda rapidly. Mr Blair said: “I think that the whole issue of identity cards, which a few years ago were not on anyone’s agenda, are very much on the political agenda here, probably more quickly even than we anticipated.” In an interview for GMTV’s Sunday Programme, Sir John was asked whether the security of Britain’s borders is a problem. He said: “It is a problem. I think it is a recognised problem. This is why I think identification cards would be of great assistance. “Up to a year-and-a-half ago I would have been against identification cards because we had no certainty that the documentation used for identification cards could actually prove with certainty the identification of someone. “Biometrics, the use of eyes, the use of fingerprints is now a certainty in a way that never was before, so therefore identification, either whether it be on border controls or whether we have to deal with stop and search in the street, anti-terrorism kind of activity … would give a certainty we need. “And I’m very much in favour of that as is the Association of Chief Police Officers.” Reminded that last week Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt suggested that compulsory ID cards were “many, many years away”, Sir John replied: “Well, I disagree with her totally. “I think the sooner they’re brought in the better and as a professional police officer I have to tell you we need them … I’m afraid the minister is wrong. I have to say that we do need those ID cards now.” Sir John stressed that “proper border controls” were needed to help combat terrorism and crime. “We do need proper border controls, we do need proper immigration controls in this country. “The borders of this country have been porous and we can prove that with a number of cases which have had high profile recently. “I think that the drive towards ensuring that immigration, customs and the police are working together and on occasions working together with some of the excellent work done by MI5 in particular and MI6 is the way forward. “You’ve got to have some border controls which are there, which are obvious and which work.” Sir John was asked about Islamic fundamentalist preachers living in Britain who make provocative remarks about relations between the Muslim community and the rest of society. Sir John said: “We monitor what people say on a regular basis. If they in fact obviously break the law then we will do something about it there and then. “But a lot of these cases are on the very edge of the law in terms of breaking the law and in those cases we submit these comments to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Crown Prosecution Service to see whether people have breached the law. If they have breached the law we will take action.” Asked if the police were keeping a close eye on controversial London-based Muslim cleric Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Masri, Sir John replied: “Very much”. Sir John was also asked about Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad, leader of the London-based group Al-Muhajiroun, who this week said Muslims should not cooperate with their local authorities against other members of the faith. Sir John said: “I think any comments that talk about not assisting the police – because we’re there for the public, we’re there to ensure their safety – is not helpful.” Asked whether Sheik Omar should be deported, Sir John said: “Well again you can only deport people if they’re breached the law.” Sir John was also asked about this week’s major anti-terrorism operation in south east England. He said: “Well I can’t talk about the specific arrests because that would be totally wrong. But I think what we have to acknowledge is that we have to look at the reasons why people do want to come to this country – or are in this country – and do want to bomb people. “I think we’ve got to try and understand it more because unlike the IRA there is no kind of political head, no political people that we can negotiate with – this Al Qaida.”