Spanish lawmakers will debate barring burqas in public, joining other European countries considering similar moves on the grounds that the body-covering garments are degrading to women, the leading opposition party said Sunday.
Top officials of the ruling Socialist Party have indicated they will support the proposal by the opposition Popular Party, making a ban likely unless the country’s highest court rules it unconstitutional.
A debate in Spain’s lower house has been set by the Popular Party for Tuesday or Wednesday, the party said. No vote will be scheduled until after the debate, and Spain’s Parliament usually goes on vacation for a month starting in late July or early August.
Head-covering veils would not be included in a ban as they form a part of traditional Spanish dress, with women often covering their heads with a garment called a mantilla, especially during church services in the south of the country.
Spain has about 1 million Muslims in the nation of 47 million, with most living in the northeastern region of Catalonia and the southern region Andalucia. However, burqas are rarely seen.
See also Press Association, 18 July 2010