May 6, 2010 / 11:17 AM / 9 years ago

Belgium analyses video threat over Muslim veil ban

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgian authorities are analysing a video containing threats to attack the country and other European states if they enforce a ban on full face veils, government officials said on Thursday.

Belgium’s lower house of parliament approved a bill last week that would enforce such a ban but it is unlikely to become law soon because the government has collapsed and parliament is due to be dissolved. France is also considering a ban.

A text written in English on a video posted on the Internet says: “If you ban the burqa, hijab or niqab (veils) ... then you will see (a) very dangerous situation in your countries.”

It shows veiled women, some armed with guns, armed men and children carrying weapons and ammunition. They did not identify themselves.

Wearing the burqa, hijab or niqab is every Muslim woman’s right and governments will pay for their decision to ban the veil, the text of the video says.

A spokesman for the government’s crisis centre, which handles security threats, said it had informed Belgium’s anti-terrorism body of the potential threat.

“They are carrying out an analysis and could then decide to take measures,” the spokesman said.

France, home to Europe’s biggest Muslim minority, is planning to debate a draft law from mid-May and ban all face veils in public within months.

Full face veils are extremely rare in Europe, but the number of women wearing them is rising. No exact figures exist but estimates put the totals at about 2,000 in France and a few hundred in Belgium.

Reporting by Antonia van de Velde

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