Italy has become the next European country to join the wave of nations banning women from wearing veils that cover their faces in public. An Italian parliamentary commission has approved a draft law prohibiting women from wearing a burqa, niqab or any other garment that covers the face in public places.
The Italian constitutional affairs commission, who passed the draft bill yesterday, is looking at expanding a decades-old law that prohibits people from wearing face-covering items such as masks in public places because of security reasons.
Much the same as in France and Belgium, women who violate the ban would face fines, while third parties who force women to cover their faces in public would be fined and face up to 12 months in prison.
The new Italian law has been championed by a Moroccan-born member of Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative Freedom People party, Souad Sbai.
Her motive, she says, is that she wants to help Islamic women integrate better into Italian society by adopting a more culturally relevant dress code.
Five years ago, no one wore the burqa [in Italy]. Today, there is always more. We have to help women get out of this segregation … to get out of this submission.
I want to speak for those who don’t have a voice, who don’t have the strength to yell and say, ‘I am not doing well.’
Roberto Hamza Piccard, spokesman for the Union of Islamic Communities in Italy, and explained that such a ban would force devout Muslim women to remain house-bound.
This topic continues to be a sort of criminalisation and media dramatisation. In Italy, there aren’t even 100 women who wear the niqab, and not even one who wears the burqa.
Italian lawmaker, Barbara Saltamartini, who’s also the vice-president of the Freedom People party caucus in the lower house, welcomed the move:
Final approval will put an end to the suffering of many women who are often forced to wear the burqa or niqab, which annihilates their dignity and gets in the way of integration.
The draft will be forwarded to parliament where, after the summer recess, Berlusconi’s governing coalition is expected to support it.
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