The Prime Minister of the Brussels Region, Charles Picqué (Francophone socialist), has called for legislation to ban the burqa and the niqab, a garment that covers the face entirely except for a small split for the eyes. Mr Picqué was speaking after a court in the Brussels borough of Etterbeek acquitted a woman who was taken to court for wearing the niqab.

The burqa is a long enveloping garment that is worn by Muslim women in public. The niqab is a type of veil worn by some Muslim women that only leaves the eyes uncovered.

The magistrate ruled that a fine for wearing the niqab was not in proportion to the offence. It is understood that the municipal authorities in Etterbeek may appeal against this decision by a police court.

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