Italy moves closer to banning face-coverings

Following in suit with Belgium and France, Italy passed a draft law yesterday that entertains the expansion of public safety laws that would ban women from wearing face coverings. It appears that using government to fight religious expression is a continuing trend in the European Union.

via Guardian UK.

The draft, which was passed by the constitutional affairs commission on Tuesday, would prohibit women from wearing a burqa, naqib or any other garment that covers the face in such circumstances. It would expand a decades-old law that for security reasons prohibits people from wearing face-covering items such as masks in public places.

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 jail.

Similar to the other ban legislation, all lead and developed by conservative party leaders, the language of women’s empowerment is used to justify the bans. The obvious contradiction, of course, of demanding women show or not show their bodies in the name of their own empowerment, is ignored.

I have written much more extensively about this before.


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Join the Conversation

  • dark_morgaine_le_fey

    Disappointing. Especially in the wake of anti-Islam attacks in Norway. Although, I am not very familiar with the Italian government’s workings, maybe they’ve been planning this for a long time, and it only just came out? Anyway, Europe’s Islamaphobia is getting old.

  • nazza

    We have a tendency sometimes, particularly on the Left, to idealize and romanticize Europe as being somehow more culturally advanced. But the racism in Western Europe, especially towards those who “muddy” their native heritage is very real and very wrong.

  • Ele

    I’ve been reading this blog for quite a while, and generally I’ve found it full of very interesting articles, which sometimes made me rethink issues I thought I already had precise opinions on it. In this specific case, thought, I feel that the article is being somehow partial in talking about the situation. While what you write here is partially true, the veil ban does have a rational reason: it is also a security matter. Being able to show your face in public is one of the basics of public life, because it allows others to see who you are and put a face to your actions while acting in the public life; moreover, under a full covering there could be anyone. True, it could be simply a woman going to work or doing whatever, but it could also be anyone else, exactly because nobody would be able to tell. And in a country like Italy, where the wounds of the 70’s political terrorism are still wide open , I do not blame the decision. Sure, the cultural difference also play a role, but there are other parts in the issue, and I think it’s fair to talk about them too. It’s not simple “islamophobia”.

  • toongrrl

    Why am I not surprised? This is the nation with Berlusconi!!!!

  • ophiopogon

    Ele, according to the spokesman for the Union of Islamic Communities in Italy quoted by the Guardian, there are fewer than 100 women in Italy who wear the niqab and none who wear the burqa. And I’m inclined to believe him; I live in a very multiethnic city and I’ve certainly never seen anyone wearing a niqab. There’s simply no way to call that a serious security risk. If anything, passing a law that bans these kinds of veils puts women who wear ANY kind of hijab at greater risk of harrassment, because there will always be some idiot who doesn’t know or care to know the difference between a burqa and a headscarf.