Spanish senate calls for nationwide burqa banBy DPA, IANS
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
MADRID - The Spanish senate Wednesday approved a motion urging Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s government to ban Islamic all-body veils in public places.
The government needed to take legal measures against the niqab, which covers the entire body except for the eyes, and against the burqa, which hides even the eyes, the motion said.
It was approved with the narrow majority of 131 votes against 129, with two conservative parties backing it, while Zapatero’s Socialists and others voted against.
Spain should outlaw “any usage, custom or discriminatory practice that limits the freedom of women,” said the document, which was drafted by the main conservative opposition People’s Party.
The Socialists, on the other hand, argued that the use of all-body veils was best opposed through education and by using the current legislation, which already prohibits people with covered faces from entering public buildings.
Eight Spanish municipalities, located mainly in the north-eastern region of Catalonia, have outlawed or are planning to outlaw all-body veils in public places. The Senate is now seeking a nationwide ban.
Critics say the Spanish debate on the burqa and niqab is only political point-scoring, because all-body veils are rare in the country.