ROME - An Italian parliamentary commission Tuesday approved a draft law banning women from wearing veils that cover their faces in public.
The draft passed by the constitutional affairs commission would prohibit women from wearing a burka, niqab or any other garb that covers the face in such circumstances.
Third parties who force women to cover their faces in public would be fined euro30,000, or about $41,000 Cdn, and face up to 12 months in jail, the news agency ANSA said.
The law was sponsored by Souad Sbai, a Moroccan-born member of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's conservative Freedom People party.
ANSA said the opposition voted against the law.
The draft will be forwarded to parliament after the summer recess.
The preliminary approval was welcomed by legislator Barbara Saltamartini, vice-president of the Freedom People party caucus in the lower house.
"Final approval will put an end to the suffering of many women who are often forced to wear the burka or niqab, which annihilates their dignity and gets in the way of integration," Saltamartini said in a statement.