Spain's opposition conservatives said Friday they would bar Islamic headscarves from public schools if they win next month's general election _ another divisive proposal in a campaign suddenly focused on immigration.
The center-right Popular Party said it is against symbols that denote discrimination against women.
"We feel that what makes sense is to establish in the framework of the law that use of symbols which might amount to discrimination or a demonstration of submission of women must be avoided. Therefore, as a principle, veils should not be used in classrooms," the party's campaign coordinator Juan Costa told a news conference.
The campaign for the March 9 election had been largely dominated by worries over Spain's once-buoyant but now-cooling economy. The governing Socialists have a small but firm lead over the conservatives.
But this week the Popular Party unexpectedly shifted the spotlight to immigration. It said Wednesday that if victorious it would require immigrants to sign a legally binding document obliging them to learn Spanish and observe Spanish social customs _ among other requirements _ in exchange for receiving the same rights as Spanish citizens.
Human rights groups criticized this as harsh and even unconstitutional. [Link]
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