Italy: Proposal to ban burqa

Italy: Proposal to ban burqa

Italy today became the latest European government to announce it was considering introducing a law which would make wearing a burqa illegal.

MPs from the anti-immigration Northern League party, a member of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's ruling right wing coalition, have presented the proposal in a bill.

It comes just weeks after France also said that it was considering making the wearing of burqas by Muslim women illegal - a statement which prompted al Qaeda terrorists to vow revenge if it was banned.

Italy has more than one million Muslims but it is rare to see women wearing the full burqa.

There have been incidents, especially in northern cities such as Milan and Verona, where women wearing it have been asked to remove at least the face veil.

Last month centre-right politician Daniela Santanche was involved in clashes with Muslims after she attended an end of Ramadan festival and urged women to remove their burqas.

There has also been a backlash against the 'burkini', a bathing costume that is suitable for Islamic dress. Several Musilim women who have used swimming pools wearing burkinis in Italy have been asked to leave, with officials claiming the garments are 'unhygienic'.

The Northern League's proposal aims at amending a 1975 law, introduced amid concern over domestic terrorism, which bans anyone wearing anything which makes their identification impossible.

The only exceptions are for 'justified cause' - which until now has been interpreted to include religious reasons in court rulings against local bans on the burqa.

The Northern League also has the backing of Berlusconi's People of Freedom party. The League's Roberto Cota said: 'We are not racist and we have nothing against Muslims but the law must be equal for everyone.


Source: Daily Mail (English)

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