Barcelona to ban the burqa in municipal buildings

Barcelona?s Mayor has announced his intentions to ban the use of full-face veils in municipal buildings. The ban would be issued ?imminently? and would enter into force in September.


June 15, 2010 04:43 PM

Barcelona (CNA).- Barcelona’s Mayor, the Socialist Jordi Hereu, has surprised everyone by announcing his intentions to ban access to municipal buildings to anyone wearing a full-face veil such as the burqa or the niqab. The ban will pass as an executive mean without the need for a public debate and will become effective in September. Full-face veils will be still be allowed in the streets though.
The main reason stated by Mayor Hereu to ban women wearing the burqa or niqab in municipally-owned buildings is “security”. The legal report made by the City Hall which services on the issue was presented today. It points to the direction of banning full-face veils. However, no one expected Mayor Hereu to announce such a measure, which will be issued as an executive order. Access to municipal buildings will be banned to people whose face cannot be recognised, which includes those wearing the burqa or the niqab but also people with helmets or any kind of headgear. This will affect municipal properties such as libraries, markets and schools. In order to ban access to people who cover their face, the rules of individual municipalalities, installations and buildings will have to be adapted accordingly. To do so, a formal debate within the City Council is indeed needed but will have to take place after summertime.

The Catalan cities of Lleida and El Vendrell approved the same measure some days ago, via a debate in their City Councils. The debates were not easy and have raised a controversy across Catalonia. Lleida has become not only the first Catalan city to have banned the use of the burqa in a public building but also the first Spanish one. However, In Lleida and El Vendrell, as well as in Barcelona, full-face veils will still be allowed in the streets.