Iran denounces European 'intolerance' over burqa

2nd June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Wednesday denounced European "intolerance" towards the Islamic veil, as France and Belgium move towards banning the burqa in public.

"We think this is an example of the intolerance that exists in Europe" regarding Muslims, Mottaki told a press conference during a visit to Brussels.

"We hope that European leaders will reflect on the subject, we attach great importance to the rights of religious minorities," he stressed, adding "we consider the moves in some western countries as worrying for Muslim nations."

Last month the French cabinet 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.

Meanwhile in Belgium parliamentary deputies have backed a draft law banning the wearing of the Muslim veil in all public places, including on the streets.

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

Spain's northeastern town of Lerida last week became the first in the country to ban the wearing of the face-covering Islamic veil in municipal buildings.

A similar ban is being considered elsewhere in Spain's north-eastern Catalonia region which has a large immigrant population.

Several pieces of legislation on the Islamic veil are being prepared in the Netherlands, while the debate recently opened in Austria.

© 2010 AFP

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