Norway to ban full-face Muslim veil in all schools

Updated 13 June 2017

Norway to ban full-face Muslim veil in all schools

OSLO, Norway: The Norwegian government on Monday proposed a bill to ban the full-face Muslim veil in all schools, from nurseries to universities, saying it hinders communication between students and teachers.
Norway’s ruling coalition of conservative and anti-immigration rightwing parties had promised the ban last year, targeting the full-face veil called the niqab as well as burqas, balaclavas and masks.
“We do not want clothes covering the face in nurseries, schools and universities,” Minister of Education and Research Torbjorn Roe Isaksen said in a statement.
“These clothes prevent good communication, which is important for students to receive a good education,” he added.
Norwegian authorities will consult over the coming months with those who could be affected by the draft law.
Norwegian media reported the government can count on the support of most parties, saying the bill was expected to pass in the spring of 2018.
Local authorities in Norway already have the power to ban the veil in schools, however there is no uniform national policy. At this stage, the bill does not lay out consequences for disregarding the proposed law.
The full-face veil is rather uncommon in Norway, even more so in schools, but the issue comes intermittently back into political debates.
The Islamic Council, an umbrella organization representing Muslims, hired a communication manager wearing a niqab, which sparked a heated discussion earlier this year.
Legislative elections will take place on September 11 in the Nordic country.
“Clothes covering the face, like the niqab and the burqa, have no place in Norwegian schools. It is a fundamental value to be able to communicate with each other,” Per Sandberg, interim minister of immigration and integration, said.


Soloman Islands breaks ties with Taiwan after Chinese ‘dollar diplomacy’

Updated 16 September 2019

Soloman Islands breaks ties with Taiwan after Chinese ‘dollar diplomacy’

  • Taiwan now has formal relations with only 16 countries worldwide, but China claims Taiwan as its territory and says it has no right to formal ties with any nation
  • The Solomons is the sixth ally Taiwan has lost since Tsai came to office in 2016 — following Burkina Faso, the Dominican Republic, Sao Tome and Principe, Panama and El Salvador

TAIPEI: The Solomon Islands’ government has cut official ties with Taiwan in a new blow to President Tsai Ing-wen, who is seeking re-election in January amid rising tension with China.
Taiwan now has formal relations with only 16 countries worldwide, but China claims Taiwan as its territory and says it has no right to formal ties with any nation.
Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, told reporters in Taipei late on Monday that it would immediately close down its embassy in the Solomon Islands and recall all of its diplomats.
Wu said China was aiming to meddle with Taiwan’s presidential and legislative elections in January with “dollar diplomacy.”
“The Chinese government attacked Taiwan purposely before our presidential and legislative elections, obviously aiming to meddle with the voting. The government strongly condemns this and urges people to hold on to its sovereignty and the value of freedom and democracy,” Wu said.
“Taiwan has never bowed to pressure from one single setback, and it won’t be defeated by this blow,” Wu said, urging support from allies in the region to defend Taiwan’s much-valued freedom and democracy.
Solomon Islands is the sixth country Taiwan will lose as a diplomatic ally since Tsai came to office in 2016 — following Burkina Faso, the Dominican Republic, Sao Tome and Principe, Panama and El Salvador.
Tsai, who’s facing an uphill battle in January’s vote, has been criticized over her handling of Beijing, who suspects of her pushing for Taiwan’s formal independence.
China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The move came after the Solomon Islands’ months-long review of the pros and cons of a switch to Beijing, which was offering $8.5 million in development funds to replace support from Taiwan.
The Solomons Prime Minister’s office did not immediately respond to questions.
A switch in allegiance would be a prize for Beijing in its campaign to secure allies from Taiwan.
Taiwan vowed to fight China’s “increasingly out of control” behavior after El Salvador switched its allegiance to Beijing last year.