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Thursday, January 7, 2010

France may ban women from wearing veils in public - freedom of rights?

French women could be banned from wearing the full Islamic veil in public under legislation proposed by Nicolas Sarkozy's ruling party. Sarkozy has said that the burka is "not welcome" in France.

According to The Guardian, Jean-Francois Cope parliamentary leader of the right wing majority UMP, said a law banning face-covering in public places would be submitted to parliament next year. Citing concerns over women's freedom and 'public order', he said a total ban was justified by growing fears of equality in France, home to Europe's largest Muslim population. Mr Cope said he would put forward a bill this month banning the wearing of the veil in public as a means of defending France against 'extremists'

Debate about the burka or niqab and its compatibility with the Republican values of freedom, secularism and gender equality has reportedly been raging in France since Sarkozy called a parliamentary commission to investigate it in June. 

Recently, France's opposition Socalists have come out against the law banning the burka - even though they remain firmly opposed to the garment.

To play devil's advocate, could it not be argued that the law itself would be infringing on women's rights and freedom? I refer to those who choose to wear the burka.


The Rights Times said...

France MPs' report backs Muslim face veil ban - A French parliamentary committee has recommended a partial ban on women wearing Islamic face veils. The committee submitted a 200-page report proposing a ban in hospitals, schools, government offices and on public transport. It also recommends that anyone showing visible signs of "radical religious practice" should be refused residence cards and citizenship.

In its report, the committee said requiring women to cover their faces was against the French republican principles of secularism and equality.

The interior ministry says just 1,900 women in France wear full veils.

Read more here:

Anonymous said...

Quite the development! France refuses citizenship to a Moroccan man over full Islamic veil

According to BBC, the French government has refused to grant citizenship to a foreign national on the grounds that he forced his wife to wear the full Islamic veil.

According to the immigration minister, the niqab breaches secularism and women’s rights, ruling that the husband’s behavior was ‘incompatible with French values’.

In a statement, Eric Besson said “It emerged during the inquiry and the interview process that this person forced his wife to wear the full veil, deprived her of freedom of movement with her faced exposed and rejected the principles of secularism and equality between men and women.”

The ruling read: "Monsieur X displays in an everyday manner a discriminatory attitude towards women, going as far as refusing to shake their hands and advocating the separation of boys and girls including, at home, of brothers and sisters."

According to The Guardian, this is not the first time France has cited the niqab – a veil that leaves only the wearer's eyes showing – as grounds for the refusal of citizenship. In 2008, a Moroccan woman, Faiza Silmi, was told she could not become French because her veil and "radical" interpretation of Islam were obstacles to assimilation.

But, what is the real truth? Can this be viewed as part of a greater movement? To support a cause and France’s desire to ban women from wearing burka in public?

To Read more see:

Anonymous said...

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has officially stated that “an experts committee” would take over the debate on French national identity, which was launched by President Nicolas Sarkozy, in conjunction with French Immigration Minister Eric Besson, last October.

Of course the debate comes at a time when France is focusing its concern on its immigration policies and the practice of Islam, and coincides with a debate on whether to ban the burqa or niqab in France.

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