There are over 4 million Muslims in France, yet according to the government, fewer than 2,000 Muslim women actually wear the niqab or burqa. So why the need for a law? How far will or should the ban go? Why now? Why now in France, and in several neighbouring countries? To critics who accuse the government of pandering to the far-right and stigmatising Muslims, the justice minister responds that it has nothing to do with religion.
The draft bill says hiding your face in public will cost you 150 euros and/or a workshop on citizenship, while forcing a woman to wear the veil could mean up to a year behind bars and a 30-thousand-euro fine, doubled if the person who's forced to wear the veil is under age.
Radu STOENESCU, Philosopher and Columnist for Riposte Laïque
John BOWEN, Author of: Can Islam Be French? Pluralism and Pragmatism in a Secularist State
Laurent CHAMBON, Doctor of Political Science and Co-founder of Minorites.org
Author of “Le grand mélange – diversité, tolérance et faux semblants dans la France de Nicolas Sarkozy »
Philip CROWTHER, France 24 (via satellite from the National Assembly)