Wednesday, 19 January 2011
Spanish court suspends town's burka ban
A SPANISH court suspended a town's ban on wearing the burqa following protests from a Muslim rights association.
Lerida, a Catalan town of 120,000 inhabitants, last month imposed Spain's first ban on wearing the Islamic full-face veil in municipal buildings.
But that decision was "provisionally suspended on Monday pending a definitive judicial decision," a spokesman for the Catalan upper court in Barcelona said.
Ten thousand Muslims, half of them Moroccan, are registered residents of Lerida.
Immigration from Muslim countries has grown in Spain since the 1990s, with Catalonia in particular being home to a large community of Pakistani origin.
There are now about one million Muslims among Spain's population of 47 million.
An Islamic group, the Watani Association for Freedom and Justice, lodged a legal complaint against the Lerida ban, saying that it breached fundamental rights.
The tribunal did not rule on the merits of the association's case, deciding merely to suspend the ban as it risked preventing some people from gaining access to public places.