For all the statistics wonks out there, I have culled the following information from this very informative article in the Hindu.
The current population of Muslims in the world is 1.6B, of which 160M are in India, 202M are in Indonesia and 170M are in Pakistan. India has the third largest Muslim population in the world - though Muslims form only 13% of India's population. 96% of Pakistan is Muslim, BTW.
The world's Shia population is concentrated in Iran, Pak, India and Iraq. They constitute only 13% of all the world's Muslims.
The west is supposed to be the bastion of freedom of speech and expression. But looks like European conservatives value their xenophobia more than their founding principles. This purported ban on the Burqa in Berlusconi's Italy is shameful.
If the Italian people are on board with this arbitrary and racist policy (like the French are), then the question is, do they really believe in the freedom of expression? If a woman wants to wear a Burqa, who are they to stop her?
Thankfully, I am an Indian who right now lives in the USA. Both countries would never ban the Burqa. Not that I would ever like to see anyone wear the Burqa; I feel forcing women to wear the Burqa is barbaric. So is forcing them to not wear it.