Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Requiem for a recorder

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

"The pen is mightier than the sword"

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Russia targets McDonald's over tensions with West

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola: Liberian authorities admit 17 patients are missing

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'New York Post' slammed for publishing Foley execution images

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza conflict: 72-hour ceasefire deal sets stage for Cairo talks

Read more

  • US forces tried to rescue slain reporter from IS captors

    Read more

  • Israeli air strike kills three top Hamas commanders

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • Former Femen activist detained after fighting veiled woman

    Read more

  • Former Irish PM Albert Reynolds dies at 81

    Read more

  • Tensions high in Yemen as Shiite rebel deadline looms

    Read more

  • Thailand coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha voted prime minister

    Read more

  • Deadly street battles hit Ukrainian rebel stronghold

    Read more

  • US attorney general visits Missouri town after fatal shooting

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Brazil’s Silva launches bid after Campos plane crash death

    Read more

  • Netanyahu compares Hamas to IS, Gaza offensive to continue

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • France’s ex-PM Juppé sets up presidential clash with Sarkozy

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande says global security ‘worst since 2001’

    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)