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France to Outlaw Burqas?

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Apparently Sarkozy wants to instill a dress code in France. How open minded of him.

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Sarkozy says burqas are 'not welcome' in France

AP

By JAMEY KEATEN, Associated Press Writer Jamey Keaten, Associated Press Writer – Mon Jun 22, 5:32 pm ET

PARIS – President Nicolas Sarkozy declared Monday that the Islamic burqa is not welcome in France, branding the face-covering, body-length gown as a symbol of subservience that suppresses women's identities and turns them into "prisoners behind a screen."

But there was a mixed message in the tough words: an admission that the country's long-held principle of ethnic assimilation — which insists that newcomers shed their traditions and adapt to French culture — is failing because it doesn't give immigrants and their French-born children a fair chance.

In a high-profile speech to lawmakers in the historic chateau at Versailles, Sarkozy said the head-to-toe Muslim body coverings were in disaccord with French values — some of the strongest language against burqas from a European leader at a time when some Western officials have been seeking to ease tensions with the Muslim world.

"In our country, we cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity," Sarkozy said to extended applause of the lawmakers gathered where French kings once held court.

"The burqa is not a religious sign, it's a sign of subservience, a sign of debasement — I want to say it solemnly," he said. "It will not be welcome on the territory of the French Republic."

Some Muslim leaders interpret the Quran to require that women wear a headscarf, niqab or burqa in the presence of a man who is not their husband or close relative.

France is home to Western Europe's largest population of Muslims, estimated at about 5 million. A small but growing group of French women wear burqas and niqabs, which either cloak the entire body or cover everything but the eyes.

Critics fear the issue of full-body coverings, which only involves a tiny minority of French Muslims, could increase discrimination against all Muslims who display their faith in any way.

Dalil Boubakeur, director of the largest Paris mosque, said Sarkozy's push to keep out the burqa is typical of French culture, but worried that he might inflame tensions with Muslims.

The president wanted to show that "the rules of life in France — and that you can just bring in unjustified traditions," Boubakeur said.

"But you have to hope — inshallah (God willing) — that there won't be any ill-feeling, controversies or incidents in this confrontation between an Eastern idea and Western life," Boubakeur told the AP in a telephone interview. "Or then eastern Muslims will have to return to the Orient ... completely unable to assimilate and uncomfortable in a Western system."

But Sarkozy also said immigrants face economic challenges in France, and the government needs to do more to help them.

"Who doesn't see that our integration model isn't working any more?" Sarkozy said. "Instead of producing equality, it produces inequality. Instead of producing cohesion, it creates resentment."

The unemployment rate for immigrants and their French-born children is higher than the national average. Many children of immigrants complain of discrimination, saying they get passed over for jobs because they have "foreign-sounding" names. Frustration of many children of north African and black immigrants boiled over in France's three-week wave of riots in 2005.

The burqa comments made up only a few lines of Sarkozy's speech, which focused on the global economic crisis and a Cabinet shake-up expected to be announced Wednesday. The address was the first by a French president to parliament in 136 years; the last was in 1873 — before lawmakers banned the practice to protect the separation of powers and keep the president in check. That ban was scrapped last year.

In France, the terms "burqa" and "niqab" often are used interchangeably. A burqa is a full-body covering worn largely in Afghanistan — with only a mesh screen over the eyes. A niqab is a full-body veil, often black, with slits for the eyes.

Muslim groups and government officials say it's hard to know how many women wear burqas and niqabs in France — though estimated to be at least in the hundreds. They are far less prevalent than simpler Muslim head scarves.

A 2004 law banned wearing the Muslim head scarf at public schools, along with Jewish skullcaps and large Christian crosses. That law sparked fierce debate both at home and abroad.

In a visit to Normandy earlier this month, President Barack Obama addressed France's headscarf ban, saying countries handle such issues with their national sensitivities and histories in mind, before adding: "I will tell you that in the United States our basic attitude is, is that we're not going to tell people what to wear."

The French government has been divided on a burqa ban. Immigration Minister Eric Besson said a ban would only "create tensions," while junior minister for human rights Rama Yade said she was open to a ban if it was aimed at protecting women forced to wear the burqa.

The burqa has come under criticism in some parts of Europe. In 2003, Sweden's National Agency for Education gave schools the right to ban pupils from wearing burqas if it interferes with the teaching or safety regulations.

The Dutch government last year described the burqa and other clothing that covers the face, as "undesirable," but the ruling coalition stopped short of attempting a ban amid concerns of possible religious discrimination. But the government did say it would work toward banning burqas in schools and among public servants, saying that they stand in the way of good communication.

Later Monday, Sarkozy hosted a state dinner with Sheik Hamad Bin Jassem Al Thani of Qatar — a Persian Gulf state where women often wear niqabs. The emir was joined by one of his wives, Sheika Mozah, whose head was covered in an elegant turban.

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Glad to see France has tackled all their other pressing problems and can focus on this issue exclusively now.

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France to Outlaw Burqas?

In public? Good.

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Odd. First they invented french fries and now they are outlawing burgers?

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Muslim groups and government officials say it's hard to know how many women wear burqas and niqabs in France — though estimated to be at least in the hundreds.

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When burqas are outlawed, only outlaws will have burqas.

This will end well.

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Once again....President Obama gets it right. USA! USA! USA! USA!

Well of course Obama isn't going to impose a dress code on his fellow muslims.

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make deodorant manditory in France, wouldn't have these problems.. :thumbup:

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Once again....President Obama gets it right. USA! USA! USA! USA!

yep, keeping women in their proper place :lmao:

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Interesting. I understand the people of France have voted but Allah has laws too. Not sure how I feel about this.

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This is so damn overdue. This symbol of female subserviance SHOULD be packed away for good. In addition to suppressing the individuality of women, there are also the obvious security concerns of having an unidentifiable citizenry lurking around the city. France doesn't get a lot of things right, but they deserve three cheers for this.

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This is so damn overdue. This symbol of female subserviance SHOULD be packed away for good. In addition to suppressing the individuality of women, there are also the obvious security concerns of having an unidentifiable citizenry lurking around the city. France doesn't get a lot of things right, but they deserve three cheers for this.

well them, no need to consider my thoughts on this policy any longer...i'll take the opposite of what FBG's greatest fisherman (aka Stat) is having.

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This is so damn overdue. This symbol of female subserviance SHOULD be packed away for good. In addition to suppressing the individuality of women, there are also the obvious security concerns of having an unidentifiable citizenry lurking around the city. France doesn't get a lot of things right, but they deserve three cheers for this.

well them, no need to consider my thoughts on this policy any longer...i'll take the opposite of what FBG's greatest fisherman (aka Stat) is having.
I've found that this can be an excellent shortcut to saving a lot of time in thought. :goodposting:

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This is so damn overdue. This symbol of female subserviance SHOULD be packed away for good. In addition to suppressing the individuality of women, there are also the obvious security concerns of having an unidentifiable citizenry lurking around the city. France doesn't get a lot of things right, but they deserve three cheers for this.

well them, no need to consider my thoughts on this policy any longer...i'll take the opposite of what FBG's greatest fisherman (aka Stat) is having.
the only fishing he does is getting people to believe he is only fishing.

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Apparently Sarkozy wants to instill a dress code in France. How open minded of him.

It doesn't have anything to do with open- or closed-mindedness.Domestic abuse is rampant in European Muslim communities; social workers' estimates of how many Muslim wives are beaten run as high as 90 percent. Burqas cover up the bruises.Currently the biggest human rights problem in France is violence against women in Islamic communities. In those communities, burqas are not a fashion statement. They're a weapon. They're used by the religious right to help enforce female submission. They put up a psychological barrier between women who are under control and the outsiders who are able and willing to help them escape. When the ethnic French woman next door sees your wife in the laundry room, as long as she can't see her face she won't be able to tell whether your wife looks hostile or just desperately in need of a friend; she may not even be able to tell if the person in the burqua is the same woman she's seen there before. So she's a lot less likely to strike up a conversation with your wife -- and that's likely to be a conversation where she'd start out chatting with your wife about babies and laundry, move on to chatting about men, and end up telling your wife that her own husband doesn't beat her and there's a battered women's shelter a few blocks down the road. The burqua helps you maintain your little piece of the Middle East in the middle of France.That's a bad thing.

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there are also the obvious security concerns of having an unidentifiable citizenry lurking around the city.

:lmao: :lmao: Make sure you never wear a hat or a hood or sunglasses. Oh and make sure you look up towards the cameras so we can all see your face.Good god man. I understand the whole subservient thing...but unidentifiable citizenry? Really?

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Apparently Sarkozy wants to instill a dress code in France. How open minded of him.

It doesn't have anything to do with open- or closed-mindedness.

Domestic abuse is rampant in European Muslim communities; social workers' estimates of how many Muslim wives are beaten run as high as 90 percent. Burqas cover up the bruises.

Currently the biggest human rights problem in France is violence against women in Islamic communities. In those communities, burqas are not a fashion statement. They're a weapon. They're used by the religious right to help enforce female submission. They put up a psychological barrier between women who are under control and the outsiders who are able and willing to help them escape. When the ethnic French woman next door sees your wife in the laundry room, as long as she can't see her face she won't be able to tell whether your wife looks hostile or just desperately in need of a friend; she may not even be able to tell if the person in the burqua is the same woman she's seen there before. So she's a lot less likely to strike up a conversation with your wife -- and that's likely to be a conversation where she'd start out chatting with your wife about babies and laundry, move on to chatting about men, and end up telling your wife that her own husband doesn't beat her and there's a battered women's shelter a few blocks down the road. The burqua helps you maintain your little piece of the Middle East in the middle of France.

That's a bad thing.

I think there is some credence to some of this here but I have some issues with both your 90 percent beaten rates, and you are leaving out key facts like the overwhelming majority of Muslim women in Europe don't ever wear a burqa. Also the whole laundry room scenario is a bit of a stretch.

I do agree they try to import their "ways" to Europe and this is off course a mixed bag, just like it has been with immigrants in the U.S. Lots of untrue stereotypes, cultural fault lines both historical and local, and misunderstandings are common. Always have been, always will be. Burqas are not something I enjoy seeing a woman wear, and I certainly do not

But just like Strikes2K thinking every Muslim country in the world is overflowing with terrorists and terrorist sympathizers, not all Muslim men are wife beating, burqa pushing Ike Turners. I lived next to Turks for 3 years, I never heard the guy beating his wife, she never wore a burqa, and all their family and friends that came over weren't making bombs and the women usually just talked about food and shopping.

That said France has a more acute problem with their Muslim minority, and that minority has been treated poorly for decades. The plight of Algerians in particular is troubling, and the ghettos of suburban Paris are some of the scarier places outside of Eastern Europe on the continent. They have a lot of work to do, and this movement is going to alienate the Muslim minority even further whether you think the law is right, or wrong.

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This is so damn overdue. This symbol of female subserviance SHOULD be packed away for good. In addition to suppressing the individuality of women, there are also the obvious security concerns of having an unidentifiable citizenry lurking around the city. France doesn't get a lot of things right, but they deserve three cheers for this.

well them, no need to consider my thoughts on this policy any longer...i'll take the opposite of what FBG's greatest fisherman (aka Stat) is having.
I've found that this can be an excellent shortcut to saving a lot of time in thought. :thumbup:
:shrug:

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This is so damn overdue. This symbol of female subserviance SHOULD be packed away for good. In addition to suppressing the individuality of women, there are also the obvious security concerns of having an unidentifiable citizenry lurking around the city. France doesn't get a lot of things right, but they deserve three cheers for this.

well them, no need to consider my thoughts on this policy any longer...i'll take the opposite of what FBG's greatest fisherman (aka Stat) is having.
the only fishing he does is getting people to believe he is only fishing.
Awesome.

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France to Outlaw Burqas?

In public? Good.

Yep...a little less tolerance is just what this situation needed.

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This is so damn overdue. This symbol of female subserviance SHOULD be packed away for good. In addition to suppressing the individuality of women, there are also the obvious security concerns of having an unidentifiable citizenry lurking around the city. France doesn't get a lot of things right, but they deserve three cheers for this.

well them, no need to consider my thoughts on this policy any longer...i'll take the opposite of what FBG's greatest fisherman (aka Stat) is having.
the only fishing he does is getting people to believe he is only fishing.
Awesome.
:goodposting:

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The French are giving a karate chop to Sharia Law. In Sharia, they aren't expected to follow French Law.

Watch, the US will try to outlaw drunk driving next as a direct attack on Hispania's culture.

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Apparently Sarkozy wants to instill a dress code in France. How open minded of him.

It doesn't have anything to do with open- or closed-mindedness.

Domestic abuse is rampant in European Muslim communities; social workers' estimates of how many Muslim wives are beaten run as high as 90 percent. Burqas cover up the bruises.

Currently the biggest human rights problem in France is violence against women in Islamic communities. In those communities, burqas are not a fashion statement. They're a weapon. They're used by the religious right to help enforce female submission. They put up a psychological barrier between women who are under control and the outsiders who are able and willing to help them escape. When the ethnic French woman next door sees your wife in the laundry room, as long as she can't see her face she won't be able to tell whether your wife looks hostile or just desperately in need of a friend; she may not even be able to tell if the person in the burqua is the same woman she's seen there before. So she's a lot less likely to strike up a conversation with your wife -- and that's likely to be a conversation where she'd start out chatting with your wife about babies and laundry, move on to chatting about men, and end up telling your wife that her own husband doesn't beat her and there's a battered women's shelter a few blocks down the road. The burqua helps you maintain your little piece of the Middle East in the middle of France.

That's a bad thing.

I think there is some credence to some of this here but I have some issues with both your 90 percent beaten rates, and you are leaving out key facts like the overwhelming majority of Muslim women in Europe don't ever wear a burqa. Also the whole laundry room scenario is a bit of a stretch.

I do agree they try to import their "ways" to Europe and this is off course a mixed bag, just like it has been with immigrants in the U.S. Lots of untrue stereotypes, cultural fault lines both historical and local, and misunderstandings are common. Always have been, always will be. Burqas are not something I enjoy seeing a woman wear, and I certainly do not

But just like Strikes2K thinking every Muslim country in the world is overflowing with terrorists and terrorist sympathizers, not all Muslim men are wife beating, burqa pushing Ike Turners. I lived next to Turks for 3 years, I never heard the guy beating his wife, she never wore a burqa, and all their family and friends that came over weren't making bombs and the women usually just talked about food and shopping.

That said France has a more acute problem with their Muslim minority, and that minority has been treated poorly for decades. The plight of Algerians in particular is troubling, and the ghettos of suburban Paris are some of the scarier places outside of Eastern Europe on the continent. They have a lot of work to do, and this movement is going to alienate the Muslim minority even further whether you think the law is right, or wrong.

Both of these are :goodposting:s

Is it just me, or does it seem to anyone else like a ban on this type of clothing will just force these women into more isolation?

It's not like these abusive husbands will say "Oh, look, the President has made you burga illegal, I guess you can't wear it anymore". More likely, imho, they'll just keep the wife inside and out of the public eye and away from contact more than ever. I don't see them letting her go out in public dressed in an untraditional manner, at least not very often.

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Oh, I thought you misspelled burgers. I was thinking that McDonalds was going to be pissed!

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Apparently Sarkozy wants to instill a dress code in France. How open minded of him.

It doesn't have anything to do with open- or closed-mindedness.

Domestic abuse is rampant in European Muslim communities; social workers' estimates of how many Muslim wives are beaten run as high as 90 percent. Burqas cover up the bruises.

Currently the biggest human rights problem in France is violence against women in Islamic communities. In those communities, burqas are not a fashion statement. They're a weapon. They're used by the religious right to help enforce female submission. They put up a psychological barrier between women who are under control and the outsiders who are able and willing to help them escape. When the ethnic French woman next door sees your wife in the laundry room, as long as she can't see her face she won't be able to tell whether your wife looks hostile or just desperately in need of a friend; she may not even be able to tell if the person in the burqua is the same woman she's seen there before. So she's a lot less likely to strike up a conversation with your wife -- and that's likely to be a conversation where she'd start out chatting with your wife about babies and laundry, move on to chatting about men, and end up telling your wife that her own husband doesn't beat her and there's a battered women's shelter a few blocks down the road. The burqua helps you maintain your little piece of the Middle East in the middle of France.

That's a bad thing.

I think there is some credence to some of this here but I have some issues with both your 90 percent beaten rates, and you are leaving out key facts like the overwhelming majority of Muslim women in Europe don't ever wear a burqa. Also the whole laundry room scenario is a bit of a stretch.

I do agree they try to import their "ways" to Europe and this is off course a mixed bag, just like it has been with immigrants in the U.S. Lots of untrue stereotypes, cultural fault lines both historical and local, and misunderstandings are common. Always have been, always will be. Burqas are not something I enjoy seeing a woman wear, and I certainly do not

But just like Strikes2K thinking every Muslim country in the world is overflowing with terrorists and terrorist sympathizers, not all Muslim men are wife beating, burqa pushing Ike Turners. I lived next to Turks for 3 years, I never heard the guy beating his wife, she never wore a burqa, and all their family and friends that came over weren't making bombs and the women usually just talked about food and shopping.

That said France has a more acute problem with their Muslim minority, and that minority has been treated poorly for decades. The plight of Algerians in particular is troubling, and the ghettos of suburban Paris are some of the scarier places outside of Eastern Europe on the continent. They have a lot of work to do, and this movement is going to alienate the Muslim minority even further whether you think the law is right, or wrong.

Both of these are :goodposting:s

Is it just me, or does it seem to anyone else like a ban on this type of clothing will just force these women into more isolation?

It's not like these abusive husbands will say "Oh, look, the President has made you burga illegal, I guess you can't wear it anymore". More likely, imho, they'll just keep the wife inside and out of the public eye and away from contact more than ever. I don't see them letting her go out in public dressed in an untraditional manner, at least not very often.

That could certainly happen. But it comes down to a question of numbers. How many women will stand a better chance of integration and freedom, vs. how many will get oppressed even worse by their male relatives? I'd be surprised if very many men would be sufficiently appalled by women going brazenly out in a mere chador to make the women under their control stay home -- after a few days of it most men would get fed up with all the extra shopping they'd have to do. But I could be wrong. I hope Sarkozy has a competent anthropologist advising him.

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Apparently Sarkozy wants to instill a dress code in France. How open minded of him.

It doesn't have anything to do with open- or closed-mindedness.Domestic abuse is rampant in European Muslim communities; social workers' estimates of how many Muslim wives are beaten run as high as 90 percent. Burqas cover up the bruises.Currently the biggest human rights problem in France is violence against women in Islamic communities. In those communities, burqas are not a fashion statement. They're a weapon. They're used by the religious right to help enforce female submission. They put up a psychological barrier between women who are under control and the outsiders who are able and willing to help them escape. When the ethnic French woman next door sees your wife in the laundry room, as long as she can't see her face she won't be able to tell whether your wife looks hostile or just desperately in need of a friend; she may not even be able to tell if the person in the burqua is the same woman she's seen there before. So she's a lot less likely to strike up a conversation with your wife -- and that's likely to be a conversation where she'd start out chatting with your wife about babies and laundry, move on to chatting about men, and end up telling your wife that her own husband doesn't beat her and there's a battered women's shelter a few blocks down the road. The burqua helps you maintain your little piece of the Middle East in the middle of France.That's a bad thing.
I understand this, but what about the women who want to wear burqas voluntarily? Surely there are at least some genunie fundamentalist Muslim women who would opt for this. If domestic abuse is a problem in Muslim households in France, maybe France should do a better job prosecuting it, or better yet do a better job assimilating its own immigrants.

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I understand this, but what about the women who want to wear burqas voluntarily? Surely there are at least some genunie fundamentalist Muslim women who would opt for this.

The problem is, how do you find out whether a woman wants to wear a burqa? Ask her? What's the French government supposed to do if they suspect a woman is wearing a burqa because she'll be beaten if she refuses to? Is there a way for them to make sure women who don't want to wear burqas are able to not wear them, short of banning burqas? If the government gives a woman a choice on this then the thugs in her community will know it was her own choice not to wear it.Some women might want to wear a burqa voluntarily for religious or other reasons. Other women wear it because of fear and pain. Until someone comes up with a way to protect women's right to wear it and also protect their right not to, the government will just have to decide which right it's more important for them to protect.

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I understand this, but what about the women who want to wear burqas voluntarily? Surely there are at least some genunie fundamentalist Muslim women who would opt for this.

The problem is, how do you find out whether a woman wants to wear a burqa? Ask her? What's the French government supposed to do if they suspect a woman is wearing a burqa because she'll be beaten if she refuses to? Is there a way for them to make sure women who don't want to wear burqas are able to not wear them, short of banning burqas? If the government gives a woman a choice on this then the thugs in her community will know it was her own choice not to wear it.Some women might want to wear a burqa voluntarily for religious or other reasons. Other women wear it because of fear and pain. Until someone comes up with a way to protect women's right to wear it and also protect their right not to, the government will just have to decide which right it's more important for them to protect.
I greatly look forward to the ban of sunglasses and long-sleeved shirts in France.

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I understand this, but what about the women who want to wear burqas voluntarily? Surely there are at least some genunie fundamentalist Muslim women who would opt for this.

The problem is, how do you find out whether a woman wants to wear a burqa? Ask her? What's the French government supposed to do if they suspect a woman is wearing a burqa because she'll be beaten if she refuses to? Is there a way for them to make sure women who don't want to wear burqas are able to not wear them, short of banning burqas? If the government gives a woman a choice on this then the thugs in her community will know it was her own choice not to wear it.

Some women might want to wear a burqa voluntarily for religious or other reasons. Other women wear it because of fear and pain. Until someone comes up with a way to protect women's right to wear it and also protect their right not to, the government will just have to decide which right it's more important for them to protect.

It just seems to me that if domestic violence is a big problem in France (and if I was married to a French-woman it would likely be a problem in my household as well), the government ought to focus on domestic violence prevention, not religious practices.

You and I are sort of on the same side here, I think. I loathe the whole notion of the burqa, and I think human society will be better off when it goes away. But I'm still really hesistant to get the government involved in voluntary lifestyle decisions. Go after domestic abuse, sure. But leave the burqa out of it.

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But I'm still really hesistant to get the government involved in voluntary lifestyle decisions.

I don't want the government forcibly dictating how people should dress. But neither do I want private citizens forcibly dictating how other people should dress. In present-day France, those seem to be the only two choices. If you think the first is worse than the second, why? Is it because when a democratic government restricts somebody's liberty you as a voter feel responsible, but when Joe Blow restricts Jane Blow's liberty it doesn't feel like it's your fault?

A big intrusive nanny-state government is certainly a threat to everyone's liberty, but there are a lot of other threats too and we have to consider which is the greater threat. Protecting the right of the already freer women to make fashion statements, at the expense of the right of the unfreer ones to become less isolated from the wider society that's their only chance of rescue, is a very misplaced priority, IMO. Direct social control by a government is a bad thing, but there are worse things out there and sometimes direct social control is the most effective way to stop them.

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But I'm still really hesistant to get the government involved in voluntary lifestyle decisions.

I don't want the government forcibly dictating how people should dress. But neither do I want private citizens forcibly dictating how other people should dress. In present-day France, those seem to be the only two choices. If you think the first is worse than the second
No, I don't. I just think it would be better to go after the coercion directly, not its byproduct.

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Is the President trying to do anything about domestic abuse among the population who doesn't wear bruise-covering clothing, or is he just concentrating his efforts on the Muslim population?

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(CNN) -- France's law banning the burqa and other Islamic face coverings in public places is legal, top constitutional authorities in France ruled Thursday, clearing the final hurdle before the ban goes into effect.

The ban passed both houses of the French legislature by overwhelming margins earlier this year, and is scheduled to come into effect in the spring.

The law imposes a fine of 150 euros ($190) and/or a citizenship course as punishment for wearing a face-covering veil. Forcing a woman to wear a niqab or a burqa will be punishable by a year in prison or a 15,000-euro ($19,000) fine, the government said, calling it "a new form of enslavement that the republic cannot accept on its soil."

Lawmakers also cited security reasons for forbidding people from covering their faces in public.

The French Constitutional Council said the law did not impose disproportionate punishments or prevent the free exercise of religion in a place of worship, finding therefore that "the law conforms to the Constitution."

A panel of French lawmakers recommended a ban last year, and lawmakers unanimously passed a non-binding resolution in May calling the full-face veil contrary to the laws of the nation.

"Given the damage it produces on those rules which allow the life in community, ensure the dignity of the person and equality between sexes, this practice, even if it is voluntary, cannot be tolerated in any public place," the French government said when it sent the measure to parliament in May.

French people back the ban by a margin of more than four to one, the Pew Global Attitudes Project found in a survey earlier this year.

Some 82 percent of people polled approved of a ban, while 17 percent disapproved. That was the widest support the Washington-based think tank found in any of the five countries it surveyed.

Clear majorities also backed burqa bans in Germany, Britain and Spain, while two out of three Americans opposed it, the survey found.

Amnesty International has repeatedly urged France not to impose the ban, saying it violates European human rights law.

The ban pertains to the burqa, a full-body covering that includes a mesh over the face, and the niqab, a full-face veil that leaves an opening only for the eyes.

The hijab, which covers the hair and neck but not the face, and the chador, which covers the body but not the face, apparently are not banned by the law.

However, a 2004 law in France bans the wearing or displaying of overt religious symbols in schools -- including the wearing of headscarves by schoolgirls.

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life estimates that France has about 3.5 million Muslims, or about 6 percent of the population.

France does not keep its own statistics on religious affiliation of the population, in keeping with its laws requiring the state to be strictly secular.

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