Italy's Northern League party pushes for full-face veil ban
Italy's populist Northern League party, the main ally of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, has presented to parliament a bill to ban full-face veils, copying the one approved by French lawmakers this week.
The bill "is aimed at enforcing the principle of equality between man and woman that exists in our society," said Marco Reguzzoni, the leader of Northern League lawmakers in the lower house.
It is also aimed at "supporting the French initiative," Reguzzoni added.
The lower house's commission for constitutional affairs has already rejected eight bills on a veil ban because of opposition from centrists politicians.
The bill calls for up to one year of imprisonment and a 30,000 euro (39,000 dollars) fine for those forcing "one or more individuals to mask their face through threats, harassment or any method creating anxiety or fear," Reguzzoni said.
The French parliament passed a law on Tuesday banning the wearing of a full-face veil in public, meaning a ban will come into force early next year if it is not overturned by senior judges.
Italy already has a 1975 law that bans people from covering their faces for public security reasons.
According to a recent poll, 73 percent of Italians oppose the wearing of the full-face veil in public places and 55 percent would like Italy to pass a law similar to the French one.
© 2010 AFP