Belgium set to debate burqa ban

The parliament's home affairs committee will debate a draft law from 1345 IST which would ban the wearing of the veil in the street, public gardens, sports grounds and public or state offices. The proposal calls for the banning of any kind of clothes or veils that do not allow the wearer to be fully identified, including the full-face niqab and burqa.

The proposal has the backing of five parties in the governing coalition, a spokesman for the Reformist Movement, a liberal francophone party, told reporters.  Controversy has raged in a number of European countries in recent years over the wearing Muslim veils and other religious garments in state or public institutions.

If it is approved by the committee, the proposal will be put to vote in parliament, a source said, adding that it was likely to be held on April 22. If passed, Belgium will become the first European country to ban the burqa in the street.

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