Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya : Police arrest 8 over Mombasa rampage

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Muslims and Christians clean up Bangui, and violence spirals out of control in Algeria's Gardaia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

  • Israel identifies ‘missing’ soldier in Gaza

    Read more

  • Hollande says French warship delivery will ‘depend on Russia’s attitude’

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs '€80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels release bodies, black boxes from flight MH17

    Read more

  • French Jews mourn French-Israeli soldier killed in Gaza

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • An ‘explosion of violence’: French press reacts to Gaza protests

    Read more

  • Notorious ‘VIP’ prison in Paris closed for renovations

    Read more

  • Christians in Iraq's Mosul face execution or exodus

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Libyan militias fight over airport

    Read more

  • Ukraine football players refuse to return home after friendly in France

    Read more

  • China steps up communist education to guard against ‘moral decline’

    Read more

  • French rugby stars attacked with machetes and swords

    Read more

France

French lawmakers pass bill to ban 'burqa' in public spaces

Video by Rebecca BOWRING

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-07-13

French lawmakers have approved a controversial draft law that would ban face-covering Islamic veils from being worn in public spaces. The bill will now go to the French Senate, which is expected to approve it in September.

French lawmakers have approved a bill to ban the wearing of face-covering veils in public spaces, despite abstentions from many socialist and Green Party MPs.

The bill will now go to the French Senate, which is expected to approve it in September.

On the right, the “yes” vote was unanimous. The main opposition Socialist Party (PS) largely abstained, as did the Communist Party, with the exception of André Gerin w

"The European court of Human Rights will take a close look at this bill"

ho was one of the bill’s architects.

Altogether, and despite the abstentions, the bill was approved by 335 votes, out a total of 577 MPs. Only one “no” vote was cast.

The bill is popular with voters in a country that has both a tradition of secularism as well as Europe’s largest Muslim population.

However, critics say the law exploits what is for all practical purposes a non-issue - only about 1,900 women among France's five to six million Muslims wear a veil - in a bid to pander to anti-immigration voters and distract attention from France's economic woes.

Constitutional question marks

But, despite passing comfortably through the National Assembly, issues surrounding the precise definition of “public spaces” and the constitutional consequences of a ban may yet hamper the bill's progress.

Explaining why so many PS MPs abstained, Socialist Senator Bariza Khiari told FRANCE 24 that the French Council of State (an advisory body made up of senior legal figures) had expressed misgivings at the legality of the bill’s definition of “public spaces”.

“Not a single PS member supports the wearing of the full veil - that much is obvious,” she said. “But we cannot actively support a bill that is not respectful of the advice of the Council of State”

Specifically, the Council of State warned that “the partial or complete ban of the full veil in public spaces could be potentially unconstitutional” in terms of attacking freedom of expression or religion.

The FRANCE 24 Debate: Should France ban the burqa?

Hiding the face in a public space

The bill’s initially precise wording has been changed and now refers to garments “that hide the face” rather than the “nikab” or “burqa”.

Under the bill, it would be illegal for anyone to cover their faces in public places like streets, parks, public transport or shops.

Fines of 150 euros will be imposed on those caught wearing the veil once a six month grace period to allow time to educate Muslim women about the ban has elapsed.

Men who force their wives or daughters to cover themselves face stiffer penalties of up to 30,000 euros and a one-year jail term.

 

Date created : 2010-07-13

  • FRANCE

    Security tight as French parliament debates burqa ban

    Read more

  • ITALY

    Police fine woman 500 euros for wearing burqa in the street

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Proposed burqa ban will also be imposed on tourists

    Read more

COMMENT(S)