MADRID – Spain’s Parliament on Tuesday rejected a proposal to ban women from wearing in public places Islamic veils that reveal only the eyes.

However, the Socialist government has said it favors including a ban on people wearing burqas in government buildings in an upcoming bill on religious issues to be debated after parliament’s summer vacation break.

Following a lower chamber debate, 183 lawmakers opposed the ban, 162 voted for it and two abstained.

The nonbinding proposal had been put forward by the leading opposition Popular Party, which portrayed it as a measure in support of women’s rights. The ruling Socialist Party opposed the ban.

“It is very difficult to understand how it is that our troops are defending liberty in Afghanistan and the government doesn’t have the courage to do so here, in Spain,” said opposition spokeswoman Soraya Saenz de Santamaria in Parliament.

The opposition’s proposal followed discussions in several other European countries on possibly banning face veils that show only a woman’s eyes, or their eyes through a knitted mesh.

Nations like France, Belgium and Switzerland have struggled to balance their national identities with growing Muslim populations with cultural practices that clash with their own.

Of Spain’s 47 million inhabitants, about 1 million are Muslims, most of whom have arrived in recent decades mainly looking for employment from northwest Africa, where the burqa is not common. Burqas are not commonly worn in Spain.