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Pro-burqa protesters banned from Brussels plan rallies elsewhere

Muslim protesters banned from rallying in Brussels plan instead to hold demonstrations elsewhere in Belgium and outside Belgian embassies in several European capitals, organisers announced Friday.

Sharia4Belgium members said they would now seek to demonstrate in other Belgian towns to protest against a looming ban against wearing the full-face Islamic veil or burqa in public, the Belga press agency said.

One of the organisers, Abu Imran, said that similar demonstrations would be held outside Belgian embassies in Europe, mentioning London, Dublin and Switzerland.

Authorities on Brussels banned a demonstration called by Sharia4Belgium for Saturday due to the possibility of “public order problems,” including a counter-protest by the Flemish far-right Vlaams Belang party.

In Belgium last month, parliamentary deputies backed a draft law banning the wearing of the Muslim veil in all public places, including on the streets, creating a controversial first for Europe.

The text must still be adopted by the upper house Senate before it can come into effect.

The burqa debate is also raging in France, where the cabinet on Wednesday 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.

On its Internet website Sharia4Islam denounced “European oppression” of Muslims and called for the installation of Islamic Sharia law throughout Europe.