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article imageFrench president wants Parliament to vote on banning full veil

By Chris Dade     Jan 14, 2010 in Lifestyle
French President Nicolas Sarkozy indicated on Wednesday that he would like the country's parliament to vote on banning the full Islamic veil known as either the burqa or the niqab, having made it clear that he favors such a ban.
While home to some six million Muslims, the largest Muslim population in Europe, there are estimated to be just 2,000 women in France who wear the full veil that causes disagreement even among followers of Islam as to its necessity as a part of their religion, the Qu'ran (Koran) reportedly making no mention of it, stating instead that both men and women should dress modestly when in public.
According to the Guardian Mr Sarkozy, a member of the center-right UMP, has said on the issue that Reuters indicates has "dominated public debate for months":The full veil is not welcome in France because it runs contrary to our values and contrary to the idea we have of a woman's dignity
However, despite his very public support for a ban on the full veil, The West Australian suggests that if introduced the ban would quite likely be challenged in the European Court of Human Rights, President Sarkozy has stated that the findings of a parliamentary commission set up to investigate a ban should be heard before any further action that could possibly stigmatize a section of the French population be taken. The commission is due to present its findings later this month.
Jean-Francois Cope, the UMP leader in the French National Assembly, is less hesitant about stopping a person from covering their face in public, apparently with the exception of carnivals, proposing that a fine of up to €750 ($1088) be imposed on those breaking a law that would probably affect women wearing the veil much more than any other group.
Under the law proposed by Mr Cope fines for men compelling their wives to wear the veil would be even heavier.
Reuters notes that many French politicians believe a ban may be unenforceable in many instances and could see women not leaving their homes if they cannot cover their faces. It is further noted that opposition to the ban in recent weeks has been coming from "young, educated women in long, black veils" appearing on French TV and speaking in newspapers about their right to wear what pleases them personally.
Prime Minister Francois Fillon, another member of the UMP, has spoken in favor of a ban, maintaining that it be applied "through a resolution that is sufficiently firm to outline the principles and through legislative texts and regulations to apply these principles".
The opposition Socialist Party, says the Guardian, opposes the wearing of the burqa/niqab, but opposes too a ban.
Meanwhile head of the parliamentary commission, and communist politician, Andre Gerin is more inclined towards implementing a ban only in public buildings and schools, where the identity of those collecting children needs to be clear. On the subject of the veil Mr Gerin observed:Everyone has understood that we have to take charge of things, wake up the Republic and act so that Muslims in France will practise Islam in a way that's compatible with Republican values
Nevertheless, like Mr Sarkozy, he warned against the stigmatization of those wishing to wear the veil.
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