Belgium’s schools have started a new academic year with “headscarf arrests”: Antwerp police arrested eight youngsters at the Royal Athenaeum in Hoboken a week after classes started. The arrested students violated a ban on demonstrations and worn Muslim headscarf’s which are a ligher version of well knownÂ burkas or burqas.
While many believe the ban of Muslim headscarf in Belgium as well as other European countries is a demonstration of social prejudice and religious intolerance rather than an attempt to integrate Muslim women into the Belgian or European societies, some of the local authorities seem to be quite serious about the the Muslim headscarf ban.
A group of Belgian left wing organization supporters, mostly students, gathered on the first academic week before school opening at Athenaeum to distribute printed materials and call for students not to accept the Muslim headscarf ban which is seen as a limitation of freedom to those living in Europe while preserving their cultural identity in such a distinctive manner. Nevertheless, the Mayor of Antwerp and Flemish socialist, Patrick Janssens, issued a ban on demonstrations at the school and the local police quickly intervened.
Reporters said that a group of Muslim women also gathered in front of the Belgian school, but retreated on to the surrounding streets when the police arrived at the scene.
The protests against the Muslim headscarf (burka) ban at the school continues while acts of vandalism have resulted in spray painted slogans on doors of the school. The vandals spray painted the slogan “No headscarf, no school”. While the police are investigating the incident, the headmaster already said he believed that it had been the work of groups who oppose the headscarf ban.
The use of traditional Muslim headscarf is part of traditions and culture which are not native the Western European countries. There are no obvious disturbance which a Muslim headscarf could possibly create by itself. Many Europeans believe they’re being pushed towards a new artificial conflict with the Muslim community while some of them give a historic example of similar cultural intolerance backÂ in the Nazi Germany where Jewish community had been heavily critisized in the 1930’s for unhumanistic methods of Jewish Ritual Slaughter just a few years before hundreds of thousands of Jews have been eliminated by nazis with methods far less humanistic by all respects.
The Western European history has proven many times that any intolerant method ofÂ cultural adaptation only creates a more serious conflict. Belgium might have no other problems if its authorities are concerned more about Muslim headscarfs than violence at schools which was so vividly pictured in the Nic Balthazar’s Ben X movie.