Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Air Algerie investigation continues

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Dozens of youths trampled to death on Conakry beach

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola death toll tops 700

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

UNRWA official breaks down over Gaza deaths

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults - Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults - Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Renault's women drivers ad deemed sexist

Read more

FOCUS

Constitution prohibits Aung San Suu Kyi to run for president

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

War and Markets, with Steen Jakobsen, Chief Economist at Saxo Bank

Read more

  • Kerry, Ban announce 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • French Jews speak of growing fear in Paris amid Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

  • Video: Inside Hamas ‘terror’ tunnels in Gaza

    Read more

  • France remembers murdered socialist hero Jean Jaurès

    Read more

  • Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over spread of Ebola

    Read more

  • Investigators reach MH17 site amid 24-hour ceasefire

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Scores feared dead in India landslide

    Read more

  • Russia ordered to pay further €1.9 billion to Yukos shareholders

    Read more

  • Iraq's Christians: Nowhere to Run?

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • US House votes to sue Obama for over-reaching his powers

    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

COMMENT(S)