A cabinet meeting convened Monday by Prime Minister François Fillon (centre) brought an official end to months of public debate on the tricky and divisive issue of French national identity.
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Although opposition parties dismissed the discussion as a cynical ploy by the Sarkozy camp to drum up nationalist fervour ahead of regional March 14-21 elections, the identity issue quickly narrowed down to a discussion centred on two main themes: France’s immigration policies and the practice of Islam in France, specifically a debate over the wearing of the burqa or niqab, Islamic full-coverage veils for women.
A Feb. 2 statement from Besson’s office said that during the citizenship review process it became clear that the man, whose nationality has not been revealed, “forced his wife to wear the full veil, thus depriving her of freedom of movement with her face exposed, and rejecting the principles of secularism and equality between men and women".
FRANCE'S MUSLIM VEIL DEBATE
The French government is now seeking legal advice before drafting new legislation that would outlaw the veil. Fillon has asked the State Council, France’s highest administrative court, to review the legal aspects of imposing a ban on the veil that would prove “as wide and effective as possible”, and to submit its findings by the end of March.
Date created : 2010-02-08