Anti-Muslim sentiment in Spain is getting enshrined into law, with legislation banning the burqa being passed in villages across northeast Spain, legitimizing xenophobic views in the Catalan region where most communities have few if any Muslim inhabitants. —JCL
There are no burqas on the streets of Tarrés. In fact, there are no Muslims at all in this village of 108 inhabitants in north-east Spain. But that will not stop the parish council debating whether to ban burqas and face-covering niqabs from parts of the village next week.
“It is true that there are no Muslims living in the village now, but this would be a preventive measure in case they come,” said parish councillor Daniel Rivera, from the tiny and openly xenophobic Partit per Catalunya. Rivera’s motion to ban burqas has outraged many – and other councillors say they will vote against it. But whatever the result, the motion is symptomatic of wider moves in the Catalonia region to ban Islamic veils from public buildings.
Today the nearby provincial capital, Lleida, formally passed a ban that was first announced in May. Women found wearing burqas in public buildings will first be given a warning but any repeat will lead to a fine of between €300 and €600 (£250-£500).