Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

France's top consumer group sues Internet giants

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users pay tribute to South Korea ferry victims

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

  • Why Syria’s cash-strapped jihadists let hostages go

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels call for Russian troops after deadly clash

    Read more

  • The Great War's unsung four-legged heroes

    Read more

  • UK’s Hamilton cruises to victory at Chinese Grand Prix

    Read more

  • Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken South Korean ferry

    Read more

  • Freed French journalists arrive home after Syria ordeal

    Read more

  • Syria’s Assad visits recaptured Christian town at Easter

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • PSG clinch fourth League Cup title after beating Lyon

    Read more

  • Militants kill Algerian soldiers in deadly ambush

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

  • VIDEO: Anti-Semitic leaflets in Eastern Ukraine condemned

    Read more

  • In pictures: Good Friday celebrated across the globe

    Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

France

France readies for ban on full Islamic veil

©

Text by Tony Todd

Latest update : 2011-04-06

The controversial French ban on wearing a full veil in public comes into force on April 11. The law, which forbids the wearing of full face coverings, would affect an estimated 2,000 Muslim women in France who wear the "niqab".

The controversial ban on wearing a full face veil in public places comes into force on April 11 in France.

Last week French Interior Minister Claude Gueant signed a circular, sent to all law enforcement agencies, “for instructions on carrying out identity checks and for the issuing of fines”.

According to the document, which was published by right-leaning daily newspaper Le Figaro, police officers do not have the right to forcibly remove a veil.

“Either the person wearing the veil removes it, or else that person is conducted to a police station so that their identity can be verified,” the circular instructs.

In no instance can a woman wearing a niqab be placed under arrest simply for wearing the full veil. But she can be held at a police station for up to four hours, held liable for a 150 euro fine and required to take a citizenship course.

A guide to the four main types of Muslim veil

Defining 'public spaces'

The circular also defines the public spaces where wearing a veil would be banned as all places open to the public, including parks, shops, cinemas, restaurants and public transport.

The face, however, can be covered in the home, in hotel rooms, on corporate premises, in private vehicles and at places of worship.

The law also stipulates that forcing someone to wear a veil, through “abuse of authority or power”, is a much more serious criminal offence, punishable by a prison sentence.

The legislation does not explicitly target Muslim women, instead banning any full face covering that masks one’s identity. A man could be similarly fined for wearing a ski mask in a restaurant or on a bus.

French Islam under the microscope

There are only about 2,000 women in France who wear the niqab facial veil (a burqa, in contrast, covers all of the body except the hands).

But the ban would also apply to foreign women visiting France as tourists, many of them big spenders on French haute couture from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.

The law comes into effect at a time when the role of Islam in France is once again under the microscope.

President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party opens a debate Tuesday on the influence of Islamic practices, and Islam itself, on the strictly secular but traditionally Catholic country.

Critics believe that this new debate on secularism, like the law against wearing the veil, is a political ploy to win voters away from the far-right National Front, which has made gains while Sarkozy’s approval ratings plummet.
 

 

Date created : 2011-04-04

  • FRANCE

    Old differences threaten ruling UMP party power

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Retired French woman on trial for ripping veil off a Muslim woman

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Judge expels fully veiled woman from court's public gallery

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)