Italy set to be next European country to ban burka for 'security reasons'

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Rome, Oct 8 (ANI): Italy is all set to become the next country in Europe to ban the burka ' for 'security reasons,' after the government presented a draft proposal to the parliament.

According to the Daily Mail, 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 has come just a week after France banned its citizens from wearing burkas and other forms of face veils in public.

The Interior Ministry report, which is now being considered by the Constitutional Affairs Commission, says that the burkas or other face coverings should be banned not for 'religious reasons but for security reasons.'

"The law should consider public safety and consider that wearing such clothing prevents immediate recognition by the forces of law and order and, if necessary being described by witnesses," the Interior Ministry report to the Commission said.

"Recognition of a person must be guaranteed especially in light of the risk from international terrorism. The law should avoid any reference to Islam or religion in order so as not to fuel controversy," it added.

The Interior Ministry also said many Islamic leaders testified that there was no mention in the Koran that burkas should be worn by Muslims.

"The use of the burka and the niqab does not have its origins in the Koran, in fact it is not even mentioned in the Koran. The burka has nothing to do with religion and was being worn even before Islam was founded, it was worn by the Romans, Byzantines and Persians and wearing it is not a religious obligation," the paper quoted Ejaz Ahmed, of the Italian Islam Committee, as saying.

'There is no connection between the burka and the niqab with the Islamic religion. The burqa should be banned to respect women's dignity and the safety of the public given that in Pakistan many suicide bombers have hidden devices under burkas," he added.

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

The Constitutional Affairs Commission is expected to report back later in autumn, but the law is unlikely to go through parliament until next year, the paper said.

Italy has more than one million Muslims but it is reportedly rare to see women wearing the full burka. 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. (ANI)

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