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Spain to consider banning burqas in public

world Updated: Jul 18, 2010 21:19 IST

Spain's leading opposition party said today the country's parliament will debate a proposal to bar the use of burqas in public, joining other European countries considering similar moves on the grounds that such garments are degrading to women.

The Popular Party tabled a motion to debate total body-covering Islamic veils in the lower house on Tuesday or Wednesday. She spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with party rules.

The Spanish government favours barring the wearing of burqas in government buildings, Justice Minister Francisco Caamano has said.

The minister said garments like the burqa are "hardly compatible with human dignity" or with identifying a person in public spaces such as town halls or public schools.

Caamano said an upcoming bill on religious issues would seek to restrict the wearing of full-body Islamic veils, which he said demean women.

Several European countries have debated regulating the use of body-covering burqas or face-covering niqabs, including Belgium, the Netherlands and France.

France's lower house of parliament overwhelmingly approved a ban on wearing burqa-style Islamic veils on July 13 in an effort to define and protect French values, a move that has disconcerted many in the country's large Muslim community.

The French ban on burqas and niqabs will go before Senate in September, where it also is likely to pass, but its biggest hurdle will likely come when France's constitutional watchdog scrutinises it later.