Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'Macron-economy' pun already worn out

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Terrorist ransoms: Should governments pay up for hostages?

Read more

ENCORE!

Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche star in 'Clouds of Sils Maria'

Read more

WEB NEWS

India: journalist launches "Rice Bucket Challenge"

Read more

WEB NEWS

Russian aid convoy: Mission accomplished?

Read more

WEB NEWS

Actor Orlando Jones lauches 'Bullet Bucket Challenge'

Read more

  • Mother of American journalist asks IS leader for his release

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande puts young ex-banker in top economy post

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

  • Airstrikes and Assad - Obama’s military conundrum in Syria

    Read more

  • IMF’s Lagarde investigated in French corruption case

    Read more

  • American journalist held captive in Syria arrives in US

    Read more

  • In pictures: The ministers in France's new government

    Read more

  • 'Lasting' ceasefire agreed for Gaza, Abbas says

    Read more

  • Far-right ‘Russian Jihad’ fighters cross into Ukraine

    Read more

  • Rebels 'shoot down' UN helicopter in South Sudan

    Read more

  • Air France pilots threaten September strike

    Read more

  • WHO seeks stricter regulation for e-cigarettes

    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)