France made headlines this week for banning the “burkini”, a Sharia-compliant swimsuit worn by practicing Muslims women while swimming in public places. Though the ban was overturned in court, France and the rest of Europe has a long and well-known history of banning “Islamic” clothing like the face veil (niqab) and burka in various locales. France has even taken steps against the headscarf (hijab) as well, which has not earned the country any friends from the Muslim community.
Naturally, stories from Europe about banning "Islamic" clothing tend to grab the world's attention and make headlines. The debacle is well-known and well-discussed the world over.
What’s perhaps lesser known, however, is that Europe is not alone in its legislation against “Islamic” clothing. In fact, some of the most guilty nations when it comes to banning these types of clothing are in the Middle East and Africa. Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, and even tiny Muslim-majority Kosovo have storied histories of maintaining a Muslim identity - but without the veil.