The approval of a Italian draft law to ban the burka is a victory for women's rights, according to some leaders of Italy's Muslim community.

"We learned of the news with great pleasure," said Gamal Bouchaib and Ahmed Bashir of advocacy group Moderate Muslims in Italy and Mustapha Mansouri, member of the Interior Ministry's Committee for Islam, an advisory group, in a joint statement.

The draft law passed by a parliamentary committee on Tuesday would prohibit the wearing of a burka, niqab or any headwear which covers the face. It has the backing of prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's government and is due to face a parliamentary vote when politicians return from their summer break.

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