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Sarkozy calls burqa ban bill a 'moral' choice

Video by Georja Calvin-Smith

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2010-05-19

French President Nicolas Sarkzoy has defended a draft government bill to ban full Islamic veils such as the burqa or niqab in France as a "conscientious" and moral choice, despite warnings from a top legal body that a ban may be unconstitutional.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his cabinet ministers discussed on Wednesday a draft bill aiming to ban the full Islamic veil in France, despite warnings from a top judicial body that banning the burqa and niqab could be unconstitutional.

"talking points" on France 24
The text, drafted by Justice Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie, would make it illegal for anyone in France to wear an “item of clothing that hides their face” in the street or any space open to the public.
 
Sarkozy called the decision to opt for a total rather than a partial ban of the burqa “demanding” but “fair”, saying he and his ministers made a moral, “conscientious” choice.
 
“It is the government’s and parliament’s responsibility to decide in what kind of society we want to live, and with what human values,” Sarkozy told his cabinet.
 
“In turn, the relevant judiciary authorities will have to reach their own decision according to their conscience and their vision of what human rights in our Republic stand for,” added the president, addressing concerns that the bill could be challenged and ultimately derailed in court.
 
But in March, France's State Council, a top judicial body, warned that a total ban of the veil in all public spaces may be unconstitutional.
 
The bill is set to go before parliament in July where it is expected to face some resistance from the Socialist opposition, which is calling on the government to limit the ban to official government offices and state institutions such as schools and hospitals.

Date created : 2010-05-19

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