Muslims Dismiss Dispute Over Legality of Burka

June 7, 2005

Source: International Herald Tribune

On June 7, 2005 the International Herald Tribune reported, "Members of the anti-immigrant Northern League, a partner in Italy's governing coalition, stirred controversy over the weekend by calling for fines against women who wear burkas, the all-encompassing female Muslim dress, and advocating a crackdown on immigrant street vendors.   But Islamic leaders played down the polemics. 'Only the League is against Muslims,' said Safwat El Sisi, spokesman of the Islamic Community in the northern Italian city of Como, where Justice Minister Roberto Castelli told a crowd on Saturday that wearing a burka was criminal and that women who did so 'should be reported to the police'... Speaking after a public screening of "Submission," the controversial film by Theo Van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker who was assassinated by an Islamic militant last November, Castelli, in his comments about fining women who wore burkas, cited a law that bans the wearing of masks in public."