THE wealthiest region in Italy has approved a ban on women wearing the BURKA in hospitals and local government buildings in the wake of the recent terror attacks in Europe.
The new legislation in Lombardy, which will come into force in the New Year, marks the first time an Italian region has explicitly outlawed Islamic face coverings.
Current laws across Italy, dating back from the 1970s, already prohibit helmets, clothing or any other items that make identification difficult in public places.
Simona Bordonali, head of security, civil protection and immigration in the populist region, said the “serious terror attacks” in recent months had forced them to tighten security measures.
He added: “Whoever wants to enter a hospital in Lombardy must be recognisable and present themselves uncovered.. the burka [and the] niqab are therefore banned.”
However the controversial decision has not been welcomed by all region officials.
Justice Minister Andrea Orlando warned that it could appear to be “symbolic propaganda” as Italy already has a national law on face coverings.
Mr Orlando added: “Right now the last thing we need is to wave symbols about and make propaganda – a domain in which the Islamist extremists are unbeatable.”
Leaders in other Italian regions said they would not be rushing to imitate Lombardy’s decision.
Umbria’s President Catiusia Marini said authorities had already changed the way public services are run “so as to accommodate women that have a deliberate culture and religion to our own”.