Court upholds Catalan city’s veil ban

A Spanish court has upheld a ban by a city on face-covering Islamic veils worn in municipal buildings.

In 2010, the city of Lleida became the first Spanish one to impose such a ban. But the Catalan regional Superior Justice Tribunal suspended it following an appeal by a Muslim association that claimed it violated basic rights.

The court ruled Wednesday that the northeastern city was within its rights to ban the clothing in municipal buildings for security and identification purposes. It also backed Lleida’s argument that the veils are discriminatory.

Other Spanish towns have taken similar steps but their burqa bans have yet to take effect.

Lleida’s one is largely symbolic since only about 3 percent of Lleida’s population is Muslim and very few wear face-covering garments.

Associated Press, 9 June 2011