News / Europe

French Cabinet Approves Islamic Veil Ban

A woman dressed in a niqab, speaks with reporters during a press conference in Montreuil, east of Paris, 18 May 2010
A woman dressed in a niqab, speaks with reporters during a press conference in Montreuil, east of Paris, 18 May 2010
Lisa Bryant

France's Cabinet has approved draft legislation banning the face-covering Islamic veil.  If the bill is passed, France could become the second European country after Belgium to ban the garment.

There was little doubt that France's center-right Cabinet would pass the draft legislation to ban the face veil.  The next step is for French deputies to vote on the measure.  The vote is slated for July and Parliament is expected to pass the measure.  Last week, the deputies unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the face-covering veil as an affront to French values.

If the legislation goes into force, women wearing the garment in public places would be fined about $185. Those found forcing women to wear the face veil are subject to even stiffer sentences - a fine of up to $18,000 and a year in prison.

Very few women actually wear the face veil in France.  The government estimates fewer than 2,000 women wear the veil out of a total Muslim population of up to six million.  But the ban's supporters say the measure would send a strong signal in favor of women's rights and France's staunchly secular creed.

France's Islamic population is divided over the measure.  Some support a ban - like one young French woman, called Kahina, who was interviewed by French radio.

Kahina agreed that the face veil, also called the burqa here, violated women's rights.  But others, like another Muslim woman Anissa, feels a ban would unfairly target the Muslim community.

Anissa, who wears a veil that does not cover the face, believes a ban on the face veil stigmatizes Islam.  She notes other Islamic symbols that have also come into question in Europe - notably minarets on mosques and the headscarf in public schools.

If the legislation is passed, France could become the second Western European country to ban the veil.  Belgium's lower house voted for a veil ban last month and the senate is expected to approve it in a separate vote.  The French government foresees a six-month period before enforcing a ban, allowing time to explain the legislation and push women to abandon the garment.

If the legislation is passed, France could become the second Western European country to ban the veil. Belgium's lower house voted for a veil ban last month and the senate is expected to approve it in a separate vote.  The French government foresees a six-month period before enforcing a ban, allowing time to explain the legislation and push women to abandon the garment.

But the legislation still faces stumbling blocks.  France's State Council, the country's highest administrative body, has warned it may be unconstitutional.  And some Muslim women have threatened to take the matter to the European Court of Human Rights.  

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid