News / Europe

France Detains Several People Enforcing Veil Ban

A supporter of Pakistani religious party Jamaat-i-Islami attends a rally to condemn the ban imposed on the burqa or veil in France, April 19, 2011 in Karachi, Pakistan.
A supporter of Pakistani religious party Jamaat-i-Islami attends a rally to condemn the ban imposed on the burqa or veil in France, April 19, 2011 in Karachi, Pakistan.

Just over a month after France enacted a controversial face-veil ban, the government says it has detained several dozen women wearing the veils, but that enforcing the legislation appears to be going smoothly. From Paris, Lisa Bryant takes a look at the fallout for VOA.

Since the ban against face veils or niqabs was enacted in France last month, the government says police have stopped nearly 50 women who have worn them in public. Of that number, about 27 have been given the option of a fine or taking a course on French citizenship.

One woman, Marie, was among those stopped.

Marie told France's RTL radio police waved her down as she was driving her car wearing the niqab. She was given the option of paying a roughly $71 fine or taking the class. She opted for the fine, she says, because she did not want to be seen in public without her niqab. She says she's facing more hostility on the streets, but she hasn't removed her face veil.

In a recent interview on French radio, Interior Minister Claude Gueant said concerns about enforcing the veil ban have proved unfounded.

Gueant said people said the legislation couldn't be applied, but so far there hasn't been a problem. He said among those detained by police for wearing the veil included an American woman at the Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris.

Before the ban went into effect, the French government estimated only about 2,000 women wore the face veil here. But it argued the legislation was important to ensure conservative Muslims abided by the country's staunch separation of church and state, as well as for security reasons and to defend women's rights.

Neighboring Belgium has also moved a step further in enacting a similar ban, with the lower house of parliament approving legislation in late April.

But the ban remains controversial - and particularly divisive for the estimated 5-to-6 million Muslims living here. Some moderate Muslims support the ban. But others, like Yamina, 24, who wants to adopt the full veil - but not the face covering niqab - are against it.

"I think it's an unfair decision, because finally it's not the niqab that disturbs the French government, but Islam," Yamina said.

Wire services report that the ban has also sparked calls on militant Muslim Internet sites for armed retaliation against France. Al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, who was killed by US special forces this month, also warned France against banning the face veil.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs