Spain Latest to Mull Burka Ban

Garment called 'hardly compatible with human dignity'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 19, 2010 10:29 AM CDT
Spain is considering banning burkas like this one in public.   (AP Photo/Farzana Wahidy)

(Newser) – Spanish lawmakers will debate barring burkas in public, joining other European countries considering similar moves on the grounds that the body-covering garments are degrading to women. Top officials of the ruling Socialist Party have indicated they will support the proposal by the opposition Popular Party, making a ban likely unless the country's highest court rules it unconstitutional. Justice Minister Francisco Caamano said last month that garments like the burka are "hardly compatible with human dignity."

Head-covering veils would not be included in a ban as they form a part of traditional Spanish dress, with women often covering their heads with a garment called a mantilla, especially during church services in the south of the country. A spokesman for Spain's Islamic Commission calls the burka "extravagant," but criticized government efforts to ban the outfit because he said women should have choice in how they dress. Other European nations that have debated regulating body-covering burkas or face-covering niqabs include Belgium, the Netherlands, and France.

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