One day after French President Nicolas Sarkozy lent his support to a strict public ban on full veils; his government has announced its intention to also impose this law on tourists as well as residents.
REUTERS - France's government on Thursday announced it would apply a proposed ban on face-covering Islamic veils to visiting tourists as well as residents, even as sceptisim mounted over the legality of the plan.
Junior family minister Nadine Morano said visitors would have to "respect the law" and uncover their faces, prompting critics to speculate whether Saudi luxury shoppers would be forced to unveil themselves on the glitzy Champs-Elysees. "When you arrive in a country you have to respect the laws of that country," Morano said on France Info radio. "If I go to certain countries I'm also forced to respect the law."
French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday backed a strict public ban of the veil, commonly referred to in France as the burqa, eschewing more moderate proposals that focused on limits in state institutions such as schools and town halls.
The draft bill will be presented to the cabinet next month.
"Why should we accept (the veil) on the bus and not in the town hall?" Morano said. She repeated Sarkozy's line that the veil hurts the dignity of women and equality between the sexes.
Prime Minister Francois Fillon said on Wednesday he was ready to take on a "legal risk" by supporting the ban, which could be challenged in the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds that it violates freedom of religion.
France's highest court has already warned the government that a complete ban could be unlawful.