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Woman wearing veil told to leave Italian museum

Published:

Woman wearing veil told to leave Italian museum

ROME (Reuters) - The head of one of Venice's most prestigious museums apologized on Wednesday to a Muslim woman asked to leave the building by a guard because she was wearing a veil over her face.

The episode, which has kindled controversy in the Italian media and arguments between centre-left and centre-right politicians, occurred on Sunday in Venice's Ca' Rezzonico museum, which houses 18th-century Venetian art.

"I'm sorry for what happened and if she ever wants to return to our museum, she will be more than welcome," director Filippo Pedrocco told Reuters by telephone from Venice.

The woman, visiting the museum with her husband and children, had cleared security when she entered the building.

When she reached the second floor, a room guard told her she must remove her "niqab," which leaves only the eyes visible, or leave.

"The room guard was over-zealous. He should not have done it. She already passed security and his only duty was to guarantee the safety of the artwork in his room," Pedrocco said.

The woman was believed to have been a member of a well-off family visiting Venice from Saudi Arabia or a Gulf state.

She refused to take off the veil and left the building, which faces Venice's Grand Canal and houses works by such 18th century Venetian masters as Giandomenico Tiepolo.

Italian anti-terrorism laws dating from the 1970s ban the wearing of face coverings in public but they are rarely enforced in cases of Islamic veils.

Italian media reported that the guard, who Pedrocco said worked part-time and was employed by an outside security firm, would be disciplined and risked being fired.

Entry #701

Comments

1.
JAP69Comment by JAP69 - August 28, 2008, 5:58 pm
Italian anti-terrorism laws dating from the 1970s ban the wearing of face coverings in public but they are rarely enforced in cases of Islamic veils.

Make a law either enforce it or strike it from the books.
2.
justxploringComment by justxploring - August 28, 2008, 6:21 pm
I do honor the religious beliefs of others, but when in Rome....
3.
justxploringComment by justxploring - August 28, 2008, 6:42 pm
"Italian media reported that the guard, who Pedrocco said worked part-time and was employed by an outside security firm, would be disciplined and risked being fired."


On a serious note, this is such baloney! He was doing his job, just like the US border patrol guards who were thrown in jail. I guess she passed security so it doesn't apply, but I feel we each need to abide by the rules of any country we are visiting or not travel to it. In other words, if I was a guest in a country where women were expected to wear veils, then that's what I'd do. Even if they had public restaurants where women were not allowed, I wouldn't be able to complain. Obviously the fact that she was from a wealthy Saudi family made the difference. After all, weren't they flown out of the USA right after 9/11 while Americans were dying? Even while airspace was restricted, planes sanctioned by the Bush administration flew around the country gathering high ranking Saudis under FBI supervision. Money talks. (and power and oil)

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