France moves towards banning Muslim veil in public

April 21, 2010
sarkozy

President Nicolas Sarkozy delivers speech on security issues in Bobigny, near Paris, April 20, 2010/Benoit Tessier

France is moving toward a ban on wearing face-covering Islamic veils in public, with the government set to examine a draft bill next month amid heated debate over women’s rights and religious freedom.  Most French voters back a ban, polls have shown, but legal experts have warned that it could violate the constitution.

President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke out in favor for a complete ban on Wednesday, and the relevant bill will be presented to the cabinet in May, government spokesman Luc Chatel said on Wednesday. Sarkozy believed that the full veil, commonly referred to as the burqa in France, “hurts the dignity of women and is not acceptable in French society,” he told reporters.

The proposal has attracted both fierce criticism and praise in the home of the largest Muslim community in the 27-member European Union. Almost 10 percent of France’s 62 million population is Muslim. Chatel quoted Sarkozy as saying that everything should be done so that “no one feels stigmatised because of their faith and religious practices.”

Do you think it’s possible to introduce a ban on full veils without anyone feeling stigmatised by it?

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