French parliament approves ban on face veils
The French parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favor of a ban on wearing veils over the face in public, a move which could make the Muslim burqa illegal.
There were 336 votes for the bill and just one against at the National Assembly.
Most members of the main opposition group, the Socialist Party, refused to participate in the vote.
President Nicolas Sarkozy has pushed for the law, saying the full veil “hurts the dignity of women, and is not acceptable in French society.”
But government advisers warned the proposed ban could be unconstitutional.
Face-covering veils, like the burqa and niqab, are worn by Muslim women out of choice and are not required by Islamic law.
Although France has the largest Muslim population in Europe — an estimated five million people — the veil ban is thought to affect fewer than 2,000 women.
The new legislation would forbid face-covering Muslim veils in all public places in France, including on the country’s streets.
Anyone caught flouting the ban would face a €149 ($189) fine, or citizenship classes, or both.
Those convicted of forcing someone else to wear a full veil would be hit with a fine of €29,900 ($37,900) and a one-year jail sentence.
If the ban is approved by parliament, the law could come into force by September.
A similar law was passed in Belgium in April. (ny post)
if you find yourself asking “what exactly is a niqab?” click here. in an older post, i noted some questions i had about full burqas but this article in the post leaves me with more unanswered questions. first, i wonder who was doing the complaining that prompted this new law? i also wonder how they came up with a penalty of $37,900.?
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