The Spanish Supreme Court has ruled that a municipal ordinance banning the wearing of Islamic burqas in public spaces is unconstitutional.
In its 56-page ruling, made public on February 28, the Madrid-based Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo) said the Catalan city of Lérida exceeded its authority when, in December 2010, it imposed a burqa ban.
The court said the ban on burqas, a traditional Islamic costume that covers women from head to toe, "constitutes a limitation to the fundamental right to the exercise of the freedom of religion, which is guaranteed by the Spanish Constitution." The court said that the limitation of a fundamental right can only be achieved through laws at the national level, not through local ordinances.
The decision, which the court said addressed a "profoundly political problem," represents a significant victory for Muslims in Spain. Although it is unclear how many women actually wear the burqa there, the ruling denotes a step forward in the continuing efforts to establish Islam as a mainstream religious and political system in Spain.
In recent years, more than a dozen municipalities in Spain have enacted burqa bans and other legal measures to push back against the ongoing Islamization of Spanish society. The rise of Islam has been especially notable in the Spanish autonomous region of Catalonia, home to the largest concentration of radical Islamists in Europe, and which has emerged as ground-zero for Salafi-Jihadism on the continent.
Catalonia has 7.5 million inhabitants, including an estimated 450,000 Muslims, who account for 6% of the total Catalan population. In some Catalan towns and cities, however, the Muslim population now exceeds 40% of the population. In the case of Lérida (spelled Lleida in Catalan), 30,000 Muslims now make up more than 20% of the city's population.
The demographic transformation of Lérida has been accompanied by all manner of Islam-related controversies, including forced marriages, genital mutilation of girls, the takeover of public streets and plazas for Muslim prayers, as well as the deployment of Muslim "morals police" who seek to enforce Islamic Sharia law on city streets.
In July 2011, two Islamic groups based in Lérida asked city officials to regulate the presence of dogs in public spaces so they do not "offend Muslims." As dogs are "unclean" animals in Islamic theology, Muslims demanded that the animals be banned from all forms of public transportation, including all city buses, as well as from all areas frequented by Muslim immigrants.
Two months later, dozens of dogs were poisoned in Lérida's working class neighborhoods of Cappont and La Bordeta, districts heavily populated by Muslim immigrants and where many dogs have been killed in recent years.
Residents taking their dogs for walks have also been harassed by Muslim immigrants opposed to seeing the animals in public. In response to the "lack of sufficient police to protect the neighborhood," 50 local residents have established alternating six-person citizen patrols to escort people walking their dogs.
In an effort to repel the Islamization of Lérida, city officials voted in October 2010 to ban the burqa in all public spaces. Women found violating the ban after December 2010, were subject to fines of up to €600 ($750).
In July 2011, the Supreme Court of Catalonia rejected a lawsuit from the Watani Association for Freedom and Justice, a local Muslim group, which had argued that the ban constitutes religious discrimination. The regional court said the burqa ban was designed to maintain "public order."
Watani appealed that decision to the Spanish Supreme Court, which met on February 6, 2013 to consider the matter
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 03/04/2013
The BasicsProject.org informational and educational pamphlet series is now available for Kindle and iPad. Click here to find out more...
The New Media Journal and BasicsProject.org are not funded by outside sources. We exist exclusively on tax deductible donations from our readers and contributors.
Please make a tax deductible donation today.