Burqa becomes focus of tense debate in Europe
CNN World / Tom Evans; Christian Amanpour Blog

By Tom Evans; Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.

As France moves closer to a partial ban on the burqa, a leading European lawmaker declared Wednesday that the full Muslim veil is a symbol of political Islam and has no place in Europe.

"The majority (of Europeans) don't want the political Islam and the symbols of political Islam. And the burqa is part of the political Islam that the majority rejects," Naser Khader, a Syrian-born Conservative member of the Danish Parliament, told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

But he insisted that opposing political Islam is not the same as being "Islamophobic."

"Wearing the burqa and niqab is oppressive of women. And many Muslims are against the burqa and niqab," he said, referring to Islamic women's clothing that covers from head to toe.

// Khader said the majority of the estimated 20 million Muslims living in the European Union are well-integrated, law-abiding and loyal citizens.

"The burqa and niqab have no place in Western Europe", he added.

Khader's remarks reflected the increasingly tense debate in Europe about the role of Islam in the continent's culture and society. A parliamentary commission in France is recommending that women should not be allowed to wear a full veil in public buildings and on public t... >>>

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