Belgium votes to ban burqa in public

1 of 8
BELGIUM: Belgium's lower house voted in favor of banning the full veil, a move that, if ratified by the Senate, could make it the first country to rule it a criminal offence. (Getty Images/Reuters)
2 of 8
FRANCE: France is moving toward a ban on veils in public, with the government set to examine a draft bill next month amid heated debate over women's rights and religious freedom.\n

- President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke out in favor for a complete ban on April 21, and the relevant bill will be presented to the cabinet in May. (Getty Images/Reuters)
3 of 8
- Almost 10 percent of France's 62 million population is Muslim. It banned headscarves from state primary and secondary schools in 2004 under a law against conspicuous religious symbols that also included Jewish kippas and large Christian crosses.\n

- Women at university can wear headscarves, since they are adults. Teachers and other civil servants may not wear any religious symbols at work. (Getty Images/Reuters)
4 of 8
GERMANY: Policy is a matter for individual states, not the federal government.\n

- Seven of Germany's 16 states have banned teachers in state schools from wearing Islamic headscarves, angering Muslim groups who say it discriminates against them. (Getty Images/Reuters)
5 of 8
- The majority of Germany's roughly 3.2 million Muslims are of Turkish origin. (Getty Images/Reuters)
6 of 8
ITALY: Italy has not passed any national legislation but some towns have been trying to ban burqas with local decrees.\n

- A 1975 law punishes with fines and up to two years in jail those who cover their face with anything that prevents their identification by police.(Getty Images/Reuters)
7 of 8
NETHERLANDS: The Dutch government is set to retreat from a plan for a general ban on Muslim veils, but stop women wearing them in schools and government offices.\n

- The cabinet has decided against a broad ban on the burqa, a complete head to toe covering, or the niqab, which leaves the eyes uncovered, in public as that would violate the principle of freedom of religion.\n

- The Muslim community says very few women wear the burqa or the niqab. They said a general ban would heighten alienation among the country's 1 million Muslims. (Getty Images/Reuters)
8 of 8
TURKEY: Mainly Muslim but constitutionally secular Turkey has banned Islamic headdress in universities and public offices. But parliament on February 9 resoundingly approved constitutional changes aimed at lifting a ban on female students wearing the headscarf in universities. President Abdullah Gul approved the reform. (Getty Images/Reuters)
May Day riots

May Day riots

02 May 2010
Culture & Society
Oil slick threatens US Gulf coast

Oil slick threatens US Gulf coast

03 May 2010
Sun 02 May 2010 01:47 AM GST