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Europe's Top Human Rights Court Upholds French Ban on Muslim Veil

  • VOA News

File - Kenza Drider, wearing a niqab, drives a car in Avignon, southern France.

File - Kenza Drider, wearing a niqab, drives a car in Avignon, southern France.

The European Court of Human Rights has upheld France's ban on the Muslim burqa and other full-face coverings in public.

The Strasbourg court ruled Tuesday that the ban does not violate religious freedom. It says the French government's desire to encourage people to live together is a legitimate reason for the ban.

Decisions by the court cannot be appealed.

A French Muslim woman brought suit against the ban. Her lawyer argued that the burqa is as much a part of her identity as her own DNA.

French authorities banned the veil in public in 2012, calling it a security risk because it conceals the wearer's identity.

France has Europe's largest Muslim population, but is officially a secular country

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