Sweden: EU must not dictate an Islamic dress code

Sweden: EU must not dictate an Islamic dress code

Sweden assumes the presidency of the European Union pushing for adoption of common rules on immigration but tiptoeing around the discussion about banning burqas and other Islamic garments.

The 27-nation EU must not dictate an Islamic dress code, Swedish Justice Minister Beatrice Ask said Tuesday, adding that "the European Union is a union of freedom."

The influx of Muslim immigrants has stirred debate in European countries about the wearing of headscarves and full-body robes in public places.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy two weeks ago told lawmakers that the all-covering burqa would not be welcome in France.

Ask said Sweden will not raise that debate to an EU level, because it has "enough to do" in its six-month stint in charge of the presidency, starting Wednesday.

"I don't think it is a question for the European Union," she told reporters in Stockholm. "I think we leave that for local politicians."

A key priority for Sweden, which has been a top European destination for refugees from Iraq and Somalia, is to get broad support from its partners for common immigration and asylum rules. Those issues remain largely national responsibilities as governments are wary of ceding authority in justice matters to the EU.


Source: Taiwan News (English)

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