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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid