In the first case of a fine for wearing a burqa in Italy. To be exact, the woman, a 26 years old Tunisian, was wearing a niqab, thus violating the recent bylaws of the Northern League’s mayor of Novara who justified the new rule for security reasons and to make clear that those who come respect the local traditions. The story of the fine started last autumn, when the mayor met casually a totally veiled woman on the street and called the police force to identify her. He then discovered what he perceives as a leak in the Italian legislative system that allows people to get away with covering fully. Therefore, he thought of launching a special bylaw. He maintains that, this measure applies also to those wearing helmets in public. However, the debate around burqa pays much more in political terms. The woman was stopped near the Post Office, but when the policemen asked her to unveil for identification, her husband strongly opposed for religious reasons. The traffic police intervened solving the situation offering the Tunisian woman to unveil in front of a woman traffic warden. The Tunisian woman was nevertheless fined. The problem raised by the case, as indicated by the writer, revolves around the autonomy of the woman: did she chose herself to wear the niqab or was forced by her husband? It wasn’t possible to find out as the husband was the only one speaking.
Artist John van der Dong has created a Post Office Box to receive messages addressed to Allah in the Netherlands. The artist’s previous work includes establishing a hotline at which over 25,000 people left telephone messages to God. Van der Dong intends to keep the letters from his current project unopened and says he will use them in his oil paintings. “What is in the letters is between the writer of the letter and Allah,” he told Dutch news agency ANP.