EUROPE

Latvia to ban full-face hijab by 2017

Islamic full-face veil will be banned; law is expected to take effect by 2017

Editor / Internet Yeni Şafak
Latvia has banned women from wearing the Islamic full-face veil in public throughout the country. The law is expected to come into place by 2017.

Authorities argue the new legislation is necessary in order to protect Latvian culture and prevent terrorists from smuggling weapons under the clothing.

There are thought to be around 1,000 practicing Muslims living in Latvia.

Previously in 2004, France forbade students in state-run schools to display any form of religious symbol, including the burqa.

In 2011, France went even further, forbidding concealment of people's faces in public—through the burqa and niqab, but also masks or balaclavas. The penalty for violation is $205.

After France, Belgium also banned full-face veils in 2011, an offense punished by a $197 fine or up to seven days in jail.

Despite not having any national regulations in Italy, the northwestern town of Novara imposed its own restrictions on clothing that impedes identification.

In Barcelona, Spain, burqas and niqabs were banned in the city's municipal buildings.

Residents of the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino voted in 2013 to institute a ban on full-face veils in Switzerland.

Also, authorities in Stavropol banned the headscarf in government-run schools, a decision that was upheld by the supreme court in the northern Caucasus region of Russia,

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