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Belgium Inches Closer to Burqa Ban

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TEHRAN, May 1 (ICANA) – Belgium's lower house of parliament has approved a bill that would ban all clothing that covers or partially covers the face and that would prohibit Muslim women from wearing the burqa and the niqab in public.
Sunday, May 01, 2011 10:17:08 AM
Belgium Inches Closer to Burqa Ban

On Thursday, the bill was passed by a vote of 136-1 and two abstentions, AP reported.

If approved by the Senate, Belgium would become the second European country after France to put such a law into practice.

The law would target all women who use the face veil, known as the niqab, and the body-length burqa.

Violators of the law would be punished with fines of 15 to 25 euros (about $20 to $33) or imprisonment for up to seven days.

The Chamber of Deputies -- Belgium's lower house of parliament -- first approved the proposal almost one year ago, but that version of the bill was nixed when the parliament was dissolved due to a government crisis fueled by a row between the country's French and Dutch-speaking politicians.

France has also banned facial covers, declaring that any woman -- French or foreigner -- who wears a niqab or burqa in public will be fined 150 euros. People who force women to wear such covers will face a much larger fine and a prison sentence of up to two years.

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