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Nun identity card photo sparks veil debate

An Italian civil servant has refused to issue an identity card to a nun who had presented a photo taken with her wearing a veil, on the grounds that days earlier he had rejected a similar photo from a Muslim woman.

The law states that photographs on Italian identity cards must show a person's features clearly.

Nuns with veils have been traditionally exempt from the ruling but the civil servant decided that it was best to be impartial.

His superiors defended his action, even after the local bishop complained.

A temporary compromise of sorts was reached when regional authorities said photographs with veils could be accepted from both Muslims and Christians for the time being as long as their faces were clearly visible.

Both sides are expected to seek clarification and new, definitive guidance from national security officials.

Nun Identity Card Photo Sparks Veil Debate (Reuters 7/9/04)

9 Sep 2004