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France Bans Muslim Veil


France's Senate has voted to ban the public use of the Muslim burqa-style veil. The vote is the final step to make the ban legal.

Judith Sunderland of Human Rights Watch speaks with VOA's Susan Yackee:

The Senate voted 246-1 in favor of the legislation, which already has passed the National Assembly. Opponents of the bill have 10 days to challenge the measure in France's Constitutional Council before it is signed into law by President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The law will make it illegal throughout France for Muslim women to wear the full-face veil, which leaves only the eyes uncovered, in public.

France has one of the largest Muslim populations in western Europe, but only an estimated 2,000 Muslim women in France wear the face-covering veil.

The law will impose fines for those caught wearing the veil, as well as jail terms for men who force their wives or daughters to cover themselves.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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