Paris: French lawmakers will vote on a
resolution on Tuesday condemning the full-face Islamic veil as an
affront to the nation`s values, setting the stage for a new
law banning the burqa.
France is on course to become the second European country
after Belgium to declare the wearing of the full veil illegal
in public places, reviving debate on Islam`s place in Europe.
President Nicolas Sarkozy`s right-wing UMP party and the
opposition Socialists along with other smaller parties have
all agreed to back the non-binding resolution in the National
The vote will set the tone for debate in July on broad
legislation that will make it illegal for reasons of security
to wear face-covering veils anywhere in public.
Next week, Sarkozy`s cabinet will examine a draft bill
that will impose fines on women who wear the full veil and
threaten men who force their wives or daughters to cover
themselves with imprisonment.
Debate on the burqa ban has prompted warnings that it
could stoke tension in a country that is home to Europe`s
biggest Muslim minority, estimated at between five and six
The head of France`s Council of the Muslim Faith, a
government body created to promote inter-faith relations,
warned that the veil ban risks leaving many Muslims feeling
"We do not want Islam to be stigmatised as a result of
this law banning the full veil," said Mohamed Moussaoui, who
met with lawmakers ahead of the vote.
"Rather than enacting a law barring women from expressing
their malaise, we should think about what prompted them to
want to cover themselves," he said.
In the resolution, lawmakers will declare that "radical
practices which violate the dignity and equality between men
and women, such as the wearing of the full veil, are contrary
to the values of the republic."
Parliament "deems it necessary that all useful means be
put in place to ensure the protection of women who are
subjected to violence and pressure and in particular are
forced to wear the full veil," it says.
While the resolution has succeeded in garnering a
consensus, the draft legislation on banning the face-covering
veils is a bone of contention.
Socialist Party leader Martine Aubry warned today that a
complete ban on the veil will not be "feasible, risks being a
source of stigmatisation and mostly be inefficient because it
cannot be implemented."