Italy: Northern city ignores outcry and lifts burqa ban

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An Italian politician has provoked a national controversy by permitting women to wear the Islamic burqa in public despite laws opposing it.The prefect of Treviso, Vittorio Capocelli, who represents the interior ministry in the city, says women should be allowed to wear the garment for religious motives as long as they can be identified if requested, reported the Italian daily, Corriere della Sera.

Three years ago, the anti-immigrant Northern League politician and deputy mayor, Giancarlo Gentilini, invoked a 1975 public order law and ordered police to arrest women wearing the burqa.Italy’s minister of equal opportunities Barbara Pollastrini and interior minister Giuliano Amato have strongly deplored Capocelli’s decision and said that the use of it was unacceptable.

Capocelli’s decision has provoked condemnation and approval across the political spectrum, some calling it a “symbol of enslavement”, while others called it a necessary step in freedom of religion.Northern League politicians Mario Borghezio said “the prefect of Treviso should put a burqa on his wife.” while Roberto Calderoli also from the League, called the office of the prefect an “unnecessary institution.


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