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Italy takes first steps to banning face veil

The Berlusconi-backed bill follows on from the ban introduced in France and Belgium.

Image: Shakil Adil/AP/Press Association Images

ITALY HAS TAKEN its first steps to banning women from wearing veils which cover their faces in public.

A parliamentary committee has passed a draft law which has the backing of prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and his centre-right coalition. It would prohibit the wearing of the burka, niqab or any headwear which covers the face, reports BBC News.

The bill will now go for a vote before parliament after the summer recess. If passed, a fine of €150-300 and some kind of community service would be handed down as punishment to the person who breaks the law.

The penalty for those who force someone else to wear a veil will be more severe with a fine of €30,000 proposed and up to 12 months in jail.

The opposition does not appear to be backing the move whilst a spokesman for the Union of Islamic Communities in Italy, quoted in the Guardian, says that the proposed ban is “is unjust and touches individual liberty”.

Already France and Belgium have instituted bans on the full-face veil being worn in public.

The issue generated huge debate in France but was prompted by president Nicolas Sarkozy’s desire to return the country to its “secular values”.

Read: Police granted new powers to remove face veils in Australia >

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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