Bulgaria Becomes Third Country to Ban the Burqa

The Bulgarian Parliament has overwhelmingly given the green light to a proposed ban on the wearing of burqas in the country, with only eight Members of Parliament voting against it. The bill’s approval means that Bulgaria is on track to becoming the third European country, after France and the Netherlands, to ban clothing that covers the face in public places. Women who defy the ban will be fined 200 leva (£80) for the first offence, increasing to 1,500 leva and the cancelling of social benefits for subsequent offences, the Sofia Globe has reported. In addition, those who persuade others to wear the veil will be fined 5,000 leva and face up to three years in prison, while for those who persuade minors to wear the veil the penalties are increased to 10,000 leva and a maximum of five years’ jail time. The bill was tabled by the Patriotic Front (PF), who have already been instrumental in getting local bans put in place. The text makes it clear that the bill is aimed at “the aggressive enforcement of limits to personal freedom and human dignity of the women,” particularly in communities where “radical Islam exists,” reports Balkan Insight. It was supported