France: Berlusconi ally brings anti-burqa bill in parliament
Rome: An Italian politician with close ties to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has introduced a bill in the upper house of Italian parliament seeking ban on wearing burqa in public.
The bill introduced by Senator Simona Vicari comes on the heels of a similar legislation tabled last week in the lower house by a member of the country`s anti-immigrant North League party.
"Who decides to live in another country must accept the rules of that place," the Sicilian member of the ruling conservative People of Freedom Party (PdL) said.
Vicari was part of Berluconi`s Forza Italia party before the 2009 founding of the PdL.
Her bill would bring up to date a 1975 anti-terrorism law banning the wearing in public of clothes and headgear that cover the face.
That law came into being amid Italy`s so-called "Years of Lead" from the late 1960s to the early 1980s when extreme right- and left-wing political groups engaged in street fighting and bloody acts of terrorism.
On Friday, a member of the anti-immigrant Northern League - the PdL`s coalition partner - introduced a bill in the lower house of parliament seeking ban on burqa.
The proposed law would make wearing the burqa punishable by a year in prison, impose fines of 150 to 300 euros for the wearer and 30,000 euros for anyone forcing a woman to don the face-concealing Islamic garment.
According to a recent poll, 73 percent of Italians believe the burqa should not be allowed to be worn at public places.
The bills come days after the French Senate voted by 246 to one to ban the burqa. Under the new French law, women will be fined or jailed for covering their faces in public.
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