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Spain: Congress Rejects Proposal to Prohibit Use of Niqab or Burka in Public Spaces

(Aug. 12, 2010) On July 20, 2010, the Congreso de los Diputados (the lower house of Spain's parliament) opposed a proposal from the Partido Popular (PP) requesting that the government prohibit the use of the niqab or the burka, the veils worn by Muslim women that cover most of the female body or face in public spaces. This is the first time this issue has been voted on in the lower house of the Congress; it comes in the wake of the approval by the Senate of a measure in favor of the prohibition.

The PP proposal asked the Executive branch to “prohibit the use of the whole veil or any other attire that would prevent the identification of the person or her visual communication, in public spaces or at events that are not exclusively for religious purposes.” (El Congreso rechaza que se prohiba el uso del burka, DIARIO EL PAÍS (Madrid) (July 20, 2010),

On July 7, during a Senate plenary session, a motion was approved to request the government to seek the legal advice of the Council of State, the consultative body of the Executive branch, to provide a study on the regulation of the use of the full veil within the current legal framework in Spain. (Id.)