Recently, an incident at the prestigious Venetian museum, Ca Rezzonico, caused a stir when one of their guards asked an Arab tourist to remove her niqab, a veil concealing all but her eyes. After she had purchased a ticket to the museum, she made her way to the second floor with her family and was advised to remove her veil. She refused, and a political firestorm ensued.
The museum director apologized. “It was a decision taken by the guard who has committed a serious error.” But was it really a mistake? According to their own guidelines for immigrants issued in 2007, it wasn’t. Instituted under the previous center-left government, the law prevents niqabs and burqas because, “they prevent the identification of the person and are an obstacle to the interaction with others.”
Member of the anti-illegal immigrant Northern League, Sen. Castelli requested that the justice minister ensure the safety of the guard’s position at the museum. “He should be given an award, not punished,” cautioned the deputy mayor of nearby Treviso.
Whether the guard was justified in his action, at least the concerning parties are in an environment where they can speak openly and candidly without being labeled racists.