Main | Tuesday, July 13, 2010

France Moves To Ban The Burqa

France's lower legislative body has nearly unanimously approved a bill that bans women from wearing burqas or face veils.
The vote was 335 to 1. The measure must still go to the French Senate before it becomes law. The Senate is expected to vote on it in the week of September 20. Amnesty International immediately condemned the vote. "A complete ban on the covering of the face would violate the rights to freedom of expression and religion of those women who wear the burqa or the niqab in public as an expression of their identity or beliefs," said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International's expert on discrimination in Europe. French people back the ban by a margin of more than four to one, the Pew Global Attitudes Project found in a survey this spring. Some 82 percent of people polled approved of a ban, while 17 percent disapproved. That was the widest support the Washington-based think tank found in any of the five countries it surveyed. Clear majorities also backed burqa bans in Germany, Britain and Spain, while two out of three Americans opposed it, the survey found.
The bill calls for a fine of €150 and/or a citizenship course for violating the ban. Men who force women to cover their faces in public could be punished with up to a year in prison, should the ban become law.

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