Italian parliament commission approves burqa ban

ROME (AP) — An Italian parliamentary commission on Tuesday approved a draft law banning women from wearing veils that cover their faces in public.

The draft passed by the constitutional affairs commission would prohibit women from wearing a burqa, naqib or any other garb that covers the face in such circumstances. It would expand a decades-old law that for security reasons prohibits people from wearing face-covering items such as masks in public places.

Women who violate the ban would face fines of euro-100 to euro-300, while third parties who force women to cover their faces in public would be fined euro-30,000 ($43,000) and face up to 12 months in jail.

Italy, an overwhelmingly Catholic country with a small Muslim minority, is the latest European country to act against the burqa. France and Belgium have banned the wearing of burqa-style Islamic dress in public, as has a city in Spain. The Belgium law cited security concerns.

The Italian law was sponsored by Souad Sbai, a Moroccan-born member of Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative Freedom People party, who said she wanted to help Islamic women better integrate into Italian society.

“Five years ago, no one wore the burqa (in Italy). Today, there is always more. We have to help women get out of this segregation … to get out of this submission,” Sbai said in a telephone interview. “I want to speak for those who don’t have a voice, who don’t have the strength to yell and say, ‘I am not doing well.”

According to some estimates, 3,000 women in Italy cover their faces with veils, she said, adding that many of them are forced to do so.

However, the spokesman of an Islamic group said banning the Islamic veil “is unjust and touches individual liberty.”

“This topic continues to be a sort of criminalization and media dramatization. In Italy, there aren’t even 100 women who wear the niqab, and not even one who wears the burqa,” Roberto Hamza Piccard, spokesman for the Union of Islamic Communities in Italy, was quoted by the news agency ANSA as saying. He said such a ban would isolate devout Muslim women, who would not be able to leave their homes.

ANSA said the main opposition party voted against the law. The draft will be forwarded after the summer recess to parliament, where Berlusconi’s governing coalition has a narrow majority.

The preliminary approval was welcomed by lawmaker Barbara Saltamartini, vice president of the Freedom People party caucus in the lower house.

“Final approval will put an end to the suffering of many women who are often forced to wear the burqa or niqab, which annihilates their dignity and gets in the way of integration,” Saltamartini said in a statement.

  • clw

    Oh thank heavens. I’m so sick of seeing that crap. Now if they would only outlaw them here, and the Godawful SACKS they wear, as well as the veils.

    Not only is it a security issue, but really, having to look at women subjecting themselves to that kind of oppression, well, I’m not a feminist by ANY stretch, but these women have to get out of those things. It’s a small start, but it’s a start.

    • Iowa48

      As best I can determine, the wearing of the burqa is not a religious requirement mandated by the Quran, rather it is a traditional expression of misogyny by this particular culture.  These women must be the most god-awful ugly creatures on the earth. How else to explain the fact that these women put up with such horrendous treatment of themselves by their menfolk. To allow themselves to be subjugated and treated so miserably, they must have the most desparately low self-esteem imaginable, which can only be attributable to their lack of any positive self-image. Why else would they tolerate the level of misogyny inflicted by their men.
      The ubiquitous presence of the burqa  is also one explanation of why the male members of this culture have such a universal affinity for Capra aegagrus hircus, or domestic goat. If the women are so unattractive that they must veisl their appearance in public, then that explains why the men obviously find the capra to be infinitely more attractive.

  • designerrant

     It’s not the burqa that is the issue, it is the immigration policy of those countries that is the issue.

  • votersofny

    I don’t know why this is even an issue. If they want to wear thigns that cover their faces, let them. Let them do it in THEIR OWN COUNTRY!! Go the eff to where you came from or obey the laws of any country you’re visiting idiots. These people think they can go anywhere they want and do whatever they do in their own country. NO, dopes, you can’t. STAY HOME and cover your faces all you want. No-brainer for anyone with even just a two digit IQ. Guess these dopes have only ONE digit in their IQ.

  • thephranc

    Its like a tax on muzzies. Muzzies force non-muzzies to pay taxes for not being muzzy so it’s fair to return in kind.