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May 15, 2010 A Coffee Break With... No Comments

The European debate on the integration of Muslim minorities is heating up: Last week, a committee of Belgian MPs voted to prohibit face-covering Islamic veils, paving the way for the first such ban in Europe. As you may know, the same discussion is in full swing in Italy, France, Austria, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, who are at least considering imposing similar bans, to the outrage of Human Rights associations and people who feel such bans are an attack on civil liberties and religious freedom.

Now, Italy’s top Imam has come up with an interesting suggestion as to how a face-covering veil might not only fit easily alongside, but even be embedded in Italian tradition: The Madonna is mostly pictured wearing a veil. “I believe Italian tradition is that which can be seen by going to a church, to a museum and seeing the beautiful images of the Madonna with a beautiful veil. That is our tradition.”

While I’d be surprised if many catholics out there would accept the line of argument, I think it is rather creative, pretty daring and also a little bit entertaining. I’ll give it a few points for that.

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