Bulgaria’s Patriotic Front Submits Motion to Ban Wearing Burqas in Public Places
Bulgaria’s Patriotic Front proposed to Parliament on Wednesday to ban the wearing in public places of burqas, or head veils hiding the face, citing potential threats to national security.
If approved, the proposed new article in the Penal Code would ban the wearing of any apparel that hides the face of a person entirely or in part.
Patriotic Front co-chairman Krasimir Karakachanov told bTV broadcaster earlier on Wednesday that the burqas have never been typical for Bulgarian Muslims and their wearing was an attempt to split Bulgarian society.
Burqas have gained some popularity in Pazardzhik, in southern Bulgaria, where some Muslim families have been exposed to radicalization, suspectedly with the use of money channeled through foundations with ties to Saudi Arabia.
Earlier, Karakachanov has called burqas, a type of Islamic hijab covering the entire body with a rectangular piece of semitransparent cloth in front of the eyes, an "instrument of Islamist propaganda".
The Patriotic Front, a coalition that backs the minority government of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, holds 18 of the 240 seats in Parliament.
The Patriotic Front proposes a fine of BGN 200 (EUR 100) for first-time offenders of the ban. Repeated violations of the ban would carry fines of BGN 1,500 each and suspension of social benefits payments for three months if the offender is entitled to receiving them.
Persuading people to wear burqas would carry jail terms of three years and fines of BGN 5,000. Those who persuade a minor to wear a burqa, will be punished by up to five years in prison and a fine of BGN 10,000.
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