Italy moves towards emulating France on burqa ban
Italy may soon seek a ban on full-face Muslim veils, drawing on debate in France where President Nicolas Sarkozy has described the burqa as unwelcome and legislators are considering a vote to outlaw or restrict it. Equal Opportunities Minister Mara Carfagna has said the Italian government will quickly follow in France’s footsteps, breathing new life into four draft bills on burqas already circulating in parliamentary committees.
“I completely agree with the French initiative, which I think will push other European countries and hence, also Italy, to enact laws on this issue,” Carfagna said this week. “This is about a sacrosanct battle to defend the dignity and rights of immigrant women. A law is being studied that would ban the use of a burqa and niqab, which are not religious symbols — that’s not us saying it, but the top religious authorities of the Islamic world, like the imams of Cairo and Paris.”
Her comments came after a French parliamentary panel this week urged the National Assembly to pass a resolution denouncing full Muslim face veils and then vote to ban women from wearing them. In Italy, the initiative has drawn strong support from the far-right, anti-immigrant Northern League party in Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative government, though some opposition figures have also applauded the move.