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!

France takes first step towards banning Muslim face veils

January 26, 2010
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Camera crews at presentation of the veil commission report in Paris, 26 Jan 2010/Tom Heneghan

GUESTVIEW: Wearing a burqa will now be a crime?

By Guest Contributor
January 23, 2010
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Veiled woman in Kabul, 10 Dec 2009/ Omar Sobhani

The following is a guest contribution. Reuters is not responsible for the content and the views expressed are the authors’ alone. Asghar Ali Engineer, a leading Indian Muslim intellectual and activist, is head of the Centre for the Study of Society and Secularism in Mumbai, where he works to promote peace and understanding among religious and ethnic communities.

French MPs seek resolution denouncing Muslim veil, with ban to follow

January 21, 2010

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Women in niqabs in Marseille, 24 Dec 2009/Jean-Paul Pelissier

France’s parliament is likely to call in a resolution for a ban on Muslim face veils in public but take longer to turn that policy into law, deputies said on Thursday. A parliamentary commission studying the sensitive issue, which has been discussed alongside a wider public debate about French national identity launched by President Nicolas Sarkozy, is due to publish its recommendations next Tuesday.

Were they “French” or “Muslims” torching cars on New Year’s Eve?

January 5, 2010
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Cars burned on New Year's Eve piled up in Strasbourg car pound, 1 Jan 2010/Jean-Marc Loos

French foreign ministry bureau studies faith issues worldwide

December 29, 2009
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Bernard Kouchner (L) and Nicholas Sarkozy (R), 10 July 2008/Vincent Kessler

France’s Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, one of the original “French doctors” who has been active in humanitarian causes for decades, once said the only major conflict he knew that had nothing to do with religion was the 1969 “football war” between El Salvador and Honduras. With a perspective like that, he naturally asked when he took over the foreign ministry in 2007 where religion figured in its diplomatic analysis and strategy. The answer was that it didn’t really figure in it, at least not in a systematic way. Laïcité — France’s trademark separation of church and state — had created a kind of “we don’t do God” reflex in its diplomacy. Kouchner began a series of internal discussions about the new challenges to diplomacy,  issues such as global warming, terrorism, sustainable development or religion. One of the results was the establishment last summer of a religious affairs bureau at the Quai d’Orsay.

Table Talk: French halal restaurants try gourmet cuisine

By Reuters Staff
December 15, 2009
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A cook dices foie gras, 8 June 2009/Karoly Arvai

In a stylishly decorated restaurant in the heart of Paris, tucked between Bastille and Place de la Nation, Sophia Tabet is perusing a typical French menu, including foie gras, beef fillet and duck confit. But unlike other French eateries, this one offers no wine list, and all food is prepared strictly in accordance with Islamic sharia law.

GUESTVIEW: European liberals – stand up and speak out in Islam debate

By Guest Contributor
December 11, 2009
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Posters for minaret ban at Zurich train station, 26 Oct 2009/Arnd Wiegmann

The following is a guest contribution. Reuters is not responsible for the content and the views expressed are the authors’ alone. Dr H.A. Hellyer is Fellow of the Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations, University of Warwick, author of “Muslims of Europe: the ‘Other’ Europeans”and Director of the Visionary Consultants Group.