Spain’s lower house of parliament will debate a proposal that would ban burqas in public this week. The proposed ban is based on the argument that the burqa is demeaning to women. The legislation, which was introduced by Spain’s leading opposition party, the Popular Party, is largely supported by the ruling Socialist Party, according to the Associated Press. The upper house of the Spanish parliament voted in June in favor of a motion that would ban the wearing of the burqa in public, according to the New York Times.
A vote on the potential ban is unlikely for several months. If a ban is enacted, it is possible that the country”s highest court would rule it unconstitutional, according to the Associated Press. Justice Minister Francisco Caamano is in favor of banning the garment, and he said the article is “hardly compatible with human dignity.”
With a population of about 47 million, Spain has approximately 1 million Muslims. Burqas are rarely worn in the predominantly Catholic country.
Mansur Escudero, spokesman for Spain’s Islamic Commission, said that although there is no religious mandate for women to wear the burqa, he feels government efforts to ban the garment restrict free choice, reported the Associated Press.