Veiled Muslim women have become the true upholders of western traditions of female dress, says Italy's top imam, who angrily condemned the decision to fine a woman in Italy for wearing a veil that completely covered her features.
The incident, which took place in the northern Italian town of Novara, was the first of its kind in Europe.
Izzedin Elzir, the president of the Union of Islamic Communities in Italy (UCOII) and a former fashion designer, said: "If we go and see the beautiful artistic representations of the Madonna, we see her with the veil. We don't see her semi-naked, I think.
"For that reason, I believe it is the Muslims who are protecting the traditions of our country."
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