Added by Annika L. Krugel on December 11, 2010
A Spanish city has approved legislation that bans face-covering veils in public buildings.
The city of Lleida, in the northern part of the Catalonia region, already approved the legislation in May, but has had incurred procedural issues which have delayed its implementation.
Although other cities have taken similar steps, Lleida is the first city in Spain to implement a ban on face-covering Islamic veils in its municipal buildings.
The measure is seen as somewhat symbolic, with Lleida only having a three per cent Muslim population, in which only a fraction of women are wearing the face-covering niqab or the body-covering burqa.
Despite this, Lleida Mayor Angel Ros, told state-run radio: “I feel proud that Lleida is the first city in Spain to regulate against something that is discriminatory against women.”
Out of Spain’s population of 47million, some 1 million are Muslim. Most Muslims live in Catalonia and in the south of Andalucia. Burqas are not commonly seen in public.
The government in Spain is said to consider including the ban in a future law that will cover a range of religious issues.