The burqa's legal standing in Europe was dealt another blow this week after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Belgium's ban on face veils is lawful under convention rules and "necessary in a democratic society."

The Strasbourg-based court's unanimous ruling Tuesday determined that the 2011 Belgian law, which prohibits people from wearing clothing that partly or completely covers the face in public, is justifiable under the European Convention on Human Rights because it aims to "guarantee the conditions of 'living together' and the 'protection of the rights and freedoms of others.'" The two Muslim women—one a Belgian national, the other Moroccan—who had brought the case to court argued that the ban violates the rights of veiling-wearing women to religious freedom and privacy. The court ruled that it does not.

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