Prime Minister François Fillon has urged France’s Muslims to reject full face veils as a sectarian caricature of Islam, a week before parliament debates a law banning burqas and niqabs in public.
(Photo: Protesters at the Arc de Triomphe, 18 June 2010/Benoit Tessier)
A “sausage and wine” party went ahead in Paris despite a police ban but was staged near the Arc de Triomphe instead of in a neighbourhood with many Muslim residents as originally planned. Friday’s event had been criticised as highly provocative because it was planned for the day of weekly Muslim prayers and the World Cup soccer match between England and Algeria, a former French colony that is majority Muslim.
France attempted the arguably impossible on Wednesday by presenting a bill to ban Muslim face veils and asking Muslims not to feel it was singling them out in the process.
Jean-François Copé on September 5, 2009/Olivier Pon
One of the most frequent questions I get from readers outside of France is how politicians here can justify banning Muslim face veils in public places. Isn’t this a blatant violation of the freedom of religion? Why isn’t this seen as such an obvious case of discrimination that legislators reject the idea outright?