Belgian lawmakers pass burka ban
- 29 April 2010 20:53 UK
Belgian lawmakers pass burka banThe Muslim Executive of Belgium has criticised the move
Belgium's lower house of parliament has voted for a law that would ban women from wearing the full Islamic face veil in public.
The law would ban any clothing that obscures the identity of the wearer in places like parks and on the street. No-one voted against it.
The law now goes to the Senate, which is also expected to approve it. It would then become law by June or July.
The ban would be the first move of its kind in Europe.
Only around 30 women wear this kind of veil in Belgium, out of a Muslim population of around half a million.
The BBC's Dominic Hughes in Brussels says MPs backed the legislation on the grounds of security, to allow police to identify people.
Other MPs said that the full face veil was a symbol of the oppression of women, our correspondent says.
The ban would be imposed in all buildings or grounds that are "meant for public use or to provide services", including streets, parks and sports grounds.
Exceptions could be made for certain festivals.
Those who break the law could face a fine of 15-25 euros (£13-£27) or a seven-day jail sentence.
The Muslim Executive of Britain has criticised the move, saying it would lead to women who do wear the full veil to be trapped in their homes.