“This has nothing to do with religious freedom,” said Skare-Ozbolt. That is correct. But from the perspective of those who are campaigning for it, it has everything to do with advancing the Muslim presence in Europe. From IslamOnline, with thanks to Twostellas:
ZAGREB, September 26, 2006 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) — Leaders of the Muslim minority in Croatia have urged the authorities to allow women to wear hijab on their passport photographs.
“I hope people in Europe realize France committed a grave mistake by banning Muslim women from wearing headscarves in certain public places,” Muslim leader Sevko Omerbasic told Jutarnji list newspaper Sunday, September 25, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Describing it as a religious symbol and not an obligatory dress code as Muslims believe, France adopted a bill banning hijab in state-run schools and public institutions in March 2004.
The French ban, dismissed by international rights watchdogs as religious discrimination, prompted demonstrations across Europe.
Croatia counts some 60,000 Muslims among its population of 4.4 million people.
Croatian authorities maintain that banning head covers in passport photographs is aimed at ensuring people can be swiftly and accurately identified.
Law states photographs included in identity documents should be a “true and faithful” likeness of the person.
“This has nothing to do with religious freedom,” said Justice Minister Vesna Skare-Ozbolt.
“The rules are as clear as the reasons for which they were made,” he added.
Police say the same rules apply to Catholic nuns, who also cover their heads.