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Bulgaria Bans Face-Covering Islamic Veils In Public


There has recently been a small rise in the number of women wearing the niqab in Bulgaria. (file photo)

There has recently been a small rise in the number of women wearing the niqab in Bulgaria. (file photo)

Bulgaria has banned face-covering Islamic veils in public, joining a small number of European countries that have done so as debate rages across Europe about religious freedoms and Islamic terrorism.

Bulgaria's parliament approved the law that "bans wearing in public clothing that partially or completely covers the face" --referring to the burqa or the more common niqab.

Infringements carry fines that start at about 100 euros, or about $114, and rise to the equivalent of about 750 euros, or about $800.

Bulgaria's mostly centuries-old Muslim community, dating back to conversions during Ottoman times, makes up around 13 percent of the population, mostly in the Turkish minority.

Muslim women in Bulgaria have generally worn just a simple scarf to cover their hair.

But recently there has been a small rise in the number of women wearing the niqab among ultraconservative Muslim communities.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters
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