With radical Islamic terrorism and the use of the burqa on the rise across the globe, one European country has decided to take a bold stand.
That country happens to be Bulgaria, where the parliament last week gave preliminary approval to a bill that would ban the wearing of burqas, according to Balkan Insight, a publication of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network.
If eventually enacted into law, the bill would levy a hefty fine on first and second offenses, as well as rescind government benefits on subsequent offenses.
The bill also imposes both monetary fines and prison incarceration up to three and five years for those caught attempting to persuade either women or girls to don the Islamic veils.
Proposed by a nationalist coalition known as the Patriotic Front, the bill specifically aims to thwart “the aggressive enforcement of limits to personal freedom and human dignity of the woman.” Moreover, it applies to practically everyone in Bulgaria, including citizens, temporary residents and migrants, and it covers all public spaces.
For the purpose of fairness, however, the bill does allow for the wearing of burkas at private homes, in places of worships and during sporting and cultural events. Exceptions may also be made for medical or professional reasons.
The bill passed almost unanimously, with only eight members of the Bulgarian Parliament voting against it. These dissenters reportedly referred to the bill as “comic and pathetic,” adding that it addresses an artificial problem and was driven by “pure populism.”
Supporters of the bill disagreed.
“The fact that we have 20 or 100 women with burqas does not mean that we should wait for them to become 150,000,” member Julian Angelov argued, the premise apparently being that an increase in burqa wearing tends to coincide with a spike in radicalism.
Likewise, by managing Muslims with an iron fist, some nations have managed to practically avoid the problem of radical Islamic terrorism altogether.
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