Belgian committee backs banning Islamic face veil in public

By Reuters Staff
March 31, 2010
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Muslim women protest against a ban on headscarves in some schools, 4 Feb 2004/Yves Herman

France’s “burqa ban” and the “Sarkozy shuffle” to shape it

March 30, 2010
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The French National Assembly in Paris, 13 March 2000/Frédéric de La Mure

Efforts by French politicians to “ban the burqa” hit the wall of constitutional reality today when the Council of State, France’s top administrative court, said there was no legal way Paris could completely outlaw full Islamic veils in public. The issue has been at the centre of complex and sometimes heated debate in France in recent months, but it wasn’t clear until now how far French and European law would allow the state to go. We still don’t know exactly what the law will look like, but the back story to today’s report is a tale in itself.

GUESTVIEW: Are Catholics masochists?

By Guest Contributor
March 28, 2010
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Notre Dame de Fourvière Basilica, Lyon/Frédéric de La Mure

The following is a guest contribution. Reuters is not responsible for the content and the views expressed are the authors’ alone. Isabelle de Gaulmyn is Religion Editor of the Paris Catholic daily newspaper La Croix and author of Benoît XVI, Le pape incompris (Benedict XVI, The Misunderstood Pope). She blogs in French at Une foi par semaine, where this first appeared.

Ultra-trad Catholics upset rabbi’s lecture in Paris cathedral

March 23, 2010
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Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, 6 Aug 2009/Jacky Naegelen

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris witnessed a scene on Sunday afternoon that seemed to be from a bygone age. A rabbi invited to deliver a lecture about Catholic-Jewish dialogue was interrupted by young arch-traditionalist Catholics who began to pray the rosary to make “amends for the outrage” of letting him speak there. Rabbi Rivon Krygier had to leave the nave and retire to the sacristy, where he read his text into a microphone to broadcast it to about 1,200 people who came to hear him. Read our full story here.

“No to Islamism” campaign boosts France’s National Front in poll

March 15, 2010
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Jean-Marie Le Pen at a rally in Marseille on March 7, 2010. The placard reads "No to Islamism. Youth with Le Pen" and shows a map of France covered by an Algerian flag and minarets/Jean-Paul Pelissier

French mosque reopens after protest disruptions

March 12, 2010
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Drancy on a map of greater Paris

A French mosque, whose imam says he has received death threats over his promotion of dialogue with Jews, reopened for Friday prayers after it was forced to close down this week due to disruptive protests.  The mosque in Drancy, a suburb to the north of Paris, has been the focus of tension for weeks with a small group of protesters keeping up a noisy barrage of criticism against the imam Hassen Chalghoumi.

Hubbub over halal in France

February 20, 2010
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A Quick fast food restaurant in Roubaix, 18 Feb 2010/Pascal Rossignol

After the noise over the niqab, now there’s a hubbub over halal in France.

France creates paper trail in campaign against Muslim veils

February 3, 2010
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--- A fully veiled woman walks past the city hall in Ronchin, northern France, 9 Aug 2009/Farid Alouache ---

Italy moves towards emulating France on burqa ban

January 29, 2010
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Equal Opportunities Minister Mara Carfagna in the Senate in Rome, 15 May 2008/Max Rossi

Discussing the veil ban on France24, BBC World TV

January 26, 2010

Being an English-speaking religion editor in Paris these days means being invited to try to explain the story to foreign audiences. Here are videos from BBC World Television today, after a parliamentary report on face veils was issued, and from a France24 television debate broadcast last Thursday but only just posted on its website yesterday. Apart from explaining my analysis of the issue, both show why I didn’t go into television!