Italy's former Minister of the Interior Roberto Maroni has strongly opposed a decree banning the Islamic female dress code, known as hijab.

"If the Virgin Mary appears wearing a veil on all her pictures, how can you ask me to sign on a hijab ban law?" Maroni, who currently heads the federalist Northern League political party, has been quoted as saying.

Italian parliamentarians have suggested that wearing the Islamic headscarf in public places bears a criminal responsibility.

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