- Title: Bulgaria bans full-face veils in public places
- Date: 1st October 2016
- Summary: SOFIA, BULGARIA (OCTOBER 1, 2016) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF GRAND MUFTI'S OFFICE SIGN READING (Arabic/English): "REPUBLIC OF BULGARIA - MUSLIM DENOMINATION - GRAND MUFTI'S OFFICE" (SOUNDBITE) (Bulgarian) GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE GRAND MUFTI, SPEAKER FOR MUSLIM DENOMINATION, DZHELAL FAIK, SAYING: "The ban which passed through the parliament yesterday is absurd because it damages relations between Muslims and Christians. It is a populist move. It instigates pseudo-patriotic and nationalistic feelings." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE OUTSIDE "BANYA BASHI" MOSQUE VARIOUS OF MUSLIMS PRAYING (SOUNDBITE) (Bulgarian) MUSLIM ORIGINALLY FROM IRAQ, MOHAMMAD NURI, SAYING: "In my opinion, the ban on burqas is correct and good. As one MP said, there is no such rule in the Koran." (SOUNDBITE) (Bulgarian) BULGARIAN MUSLIM, KRASIMIR MANOV, SAYING: "I have seen many old Bulgarian movies where all the women are wearing headscarves." "BANYA BASHI" MOSQUE
- Embargoed: 16th October 2016 15:25
- Keywords: religion burqa veil ban vote women Bulgaria
- Location: SOFIA, BULGARIA
- City: SOFIA, BULGARIA
- Country: Bulgaria
- Topics: Religion/Belief,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA002526A9FR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Bulgaria's parliament on Friday (September 30) banned the wearing of face veils in public in a move supporters said would boost security after Islamist militant attacks in Europe, but which drew criticism from Amnesty International.
The "burqa ban" law, pushed by the nationalist Patriotic Front coalition, echoes similar measures in western European countries such as France, the Netherlands and Belgium which have various laws banning the wearing of niqab full-face veils or head-to-toe burqas.
"Our appeal is to be Europeans, please vote positively for this law, do not writhe like a snake," Patriotic Front MP Iskren Veselinov said in parliament during the run-up to the vote.
People who do not comply with the ban in Bulgaria face fines of up to 1,500 levs ($860), as well as suspension of social benefits.
The ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms refused to take part in the vote, which followed full-face veil bans in public in several Bulgarian towns. It said the ban would incite ethic and religious intolerance.
The ruling centre-right GERB party said the ban had nothing to do with religious outfits and was only aimed at boosting national security and allowing better video surveillance.
According to the law, clothing hiding the face may not be worn in government offices, schools, cultural institutions and places of public recreation, but exceptions are allowed for health or professional reasons.
Human rights group Amnesty International said the ban violated Bulgarian women's rights to freedom of expression and religion, calling it part of a disturbing trend of intolerance, xenophobia and racism in the Black Sea state.
The General Secretary for Bulgaria's Grand Mufti, Dzhelal Faik, also criticised the law as a "populist move".
Muslims make up about 12 percent of Bulgaria's 7.2 million population and most belong to a centuries-old community, largely ethnic Turks.
Muslim women in the country traditionally do not wear niqabs or burqas, except for a small group in the Roma community who have recently started, sparking tensions in the city of Pazarzhik.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2016. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None