updated 8/2/2011 12:01:43 PM ET 2011-08-02T16:01:43

An Italian parliamentary commission has approved a draft law banning women from wearing veils that cover their faces in public.

The draft passed by the constitutional affairs commission Tuesday would prohibit women from wearing a burqa, niqab or any other garb that covers the face in public.

The news agency ANSA said third parties who force women to cover their faces in public would be fined €30,000 and face up to 12 months in jail.

Story: Arrests made as French face veil ban takes effect

The law was sponsored by Souad Sbai, a Moroccan-born member of Premier 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.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Protest over French veil ban leads to arrests

  1. Closed captioning of: Protest over French veil ban leads to arrests

    >>> back now with a tense tug of war that pits women, what they wear, and hot they believe right in the middle. in a move that has greatly upset the growing muslim community in france, the french government today started enforcing a controversial new law that makes it illegal to cover one's face in public. a common religious practice for some muslim women , and not all of them are going along with it. nbc's george lewis is with us from paris. good evening.

    >> reporter: brian, a minority of muslim women here believe that covering their faces is a sign of respect to god, that banning that practice is an afront to religious freedom . outside paris' famed notre dame cathedral , police arrested two protesters who defied the new law. violators face a fine of $150 euros. that's a fine of about $250.

    >> translator: this is an attack on my freedom of conscience , my freedom of religion , this woman said. the law passed through parliament last year by president csarkozy and his party was controversy. some call it bigotry. proponents of the law say wearing the veil demeans women and it's important for the state to support secular value.

    >> in order to improve integration in the french society , we must take some measures against the extreme behaviors like wearing a burqa in the street in public places . this cannot be accepted. it is rejected by the majority of the french population .

    >> muslims are a growing minority here, changing the face of europe. now france is insisting the face be visible in europe. muslims worry other countries will try to pass other laws. meanwhile, they're saying they're not sure they can enforce this law.

    >> george lewis with us from


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