Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Woman wearing burqa denied bus trip in Sweden

Stockholm, Apr 25 - A burqa-clad woman in Sweden was refused passage on a city bus in the town of Malmoe, allegedly because the driver said he could not identify the woman, media reported today. "I have never had to identify myself on a public bus before. Wearing a burqa is my personal choice and it doesn't make me more threatening than anyone else," the woman, whose name was not disclosed, told Swedish free daily Metro. The burqa is an Islamic veil covering the entire face and body, with a small mesh screen across the eyes to see through. The woman boarded the bus despite the driver's attempt to refuse her access, but said she still had to endure mockery from him. She has reported the incident to police. The bus driver's "version of events is not the same as the woman's," a spokesman for the bus company Arriva, Daniel Stjernfeldt, told AFP, adding that the driver had been suspended pending an investigation. "If what the woman says happened proves to be true this is unacceptable behaviour. Everyone should be able to take the bus," he said. There are no rules saying passengers have to identify themselves on public buses.

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