Second Catalan city adopts burqa ban: reports
A second city in Catalonia on Friday adopted a local ban on the burqa and the niqab, the face-covering Muslim women's garment that has provoked debate in Europe, Spanish news media reported.
The decision by the city council of Vendrell, home to 26,000 people in a wine-growing area to the west of Barcelona, follows a move two weeks ago in the bigger inland city of Lerida to prohibit such outfits in municipal buildings.
A third Catalan city, Girona, is to decide on Monday whether to follow suit, while opposition conservatives have said they would be proposing a burqa and niqab ban to the Catalan regional assembly.
Immigration from Muslim countries -- notably nearby Morocco -- has grown since the 1990s in Spain, with Catalonia being home to a large community of Pakistani origin.
Last month, lawmakers in Belgium approved a draft law to ban the wearing of the Muslim full-face veil in all public places, including streets -- creating a controversial first for Europe, although it is still subject to a senate vote.
Debate is raging in France as well, where the cabinet has approved a draft law to ban the Muslim full-face veil from public spaces, opening the way for the text to go before parliament in July.
© 2010 AFP