Minister Urges Fines over Muslim Robe

Rachel Sanderson, Reuters, June 6

Italy’s justice minister, a member of the right-wing Northern League party, was today accused of fuelling anti-Islamic sentiment in Italy after saying he would fine women wearing the all-covering burka.

Roberto Castelli said an Italian law banning the covering of a person’s face in public would be applied to women wearing the full-length religious robe that hides the head and face.

“To go around with your face covered is a crime, you can’t do it,” he told reporters.

“Women who do so must be reported to the police and fined.”

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A judge last month ordered celebrated Italian writer and journalist Oriana Fallaci to stand trial on charges of defaming Islam in a recent trilogy written in response to the September 11 attacks on US cities.

In the books, which sold more than one million copies in Italy, she complained that Muslim immigrants had “multiplied like rats”.

Mr Castelli said the author, who lives in New York, would not be found guilty because the Government would change the defamation law to clear her, local news agencies ANSA and AGI reported.

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