French Senate Overwhelmingly Approves Burqa Ban

In a move that was expected but has already begun to cause controversy, the French Senate passed a bill banning the burqa, niqab and other full-body robes worn by Muslim women.  The Assembly passed the bill earlier in the summer, and it will be reviewed by France’s Constitutional Council before it becomes law.

“Showing one’s face is a question of dignity and equality in our republic,” said Justice Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie during Tuesday’s debate in the Senate, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The move has been criticized by some because of the small numbers of French Muslim women who choose to veil completely, saying that it was a move to stigmatize the growing numbers of Muslim immigrants, and make it clear to them that they needed to assimilate to French cultural traditions.  Others said that the veil was an affront to French republican values, saying that face-to-face contact is necessary for active communication.

The ban will apply to everyone in France, including visitors.  Women who are found to be violating the ban will face a maximum fine of 150 euros (and could be asked to attend a course on republican values).  People who are found guilty of forcing others to veil have a far greater penalty – they could be fined up to 30,000 euros and even be jailed for a year.

The law was passed with only one dissenting vote.  We’ll have more on the law as French citizens have time to react, but it certainly will be a marker of how laws like this will be accepted in other parts of Europe, should countries choose to enact them.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

246 comments

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rogers27 days ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rogers27 days ago

Thank you for sharing.

Elise Lanciault-Breton
Elise L5 years ago

@ Niz, well sorry Nuns veils let us see the nuns faces, not burqa!! They did it mostly for security. Sorry if a nun comes into a bank to rob, i get to recognize her facial description, but not if someone does the same thing with a burqa!

bob m.
bob m5 years ago

@ Niz I. anything isn't in the bag is a slut eh Niz?.....Get some help eh?...

Nizam I.
Nizam I.5 years ago

Now the question remains, why can only they (NUNS) keep their chastity for Jesus...... and Why cant Muslim female keep their chastity for their husbands..... If a female walks with a veil in the road, whether Nun or Muslim, I respect her..... If she walks down the road half naked..... (Straight Talk) I sex her..... (That is for 5minutes) after that I walk to my loyal one whom I care for......

Nizam I.
Nizam I.5 years ago

Is the NUNS also banned from wearing their veils?

Nizam I.
Nizam I.5 years ago

If you change your religion, which is then your country?

Bernadette P.
Berny p5 years ago

I applaud the French for having the courage to value their own open secular culture which champions women's rights.

Many european countries agree with this but up to know their governement have not had the guts to do something about it.....but Belgium has just agree on this from the 23rd July....

AT last the message is getting through!

Well done France...Well done Belgium!

Bernadette P.
Berny p5 years ago

If you live in a country you must abide by the laws of that country.... I am not french but agree with them on this.


Lindsey DTSW
.6 years ago

I checked out the story you mentioned, Valda, and noticed something about it that just may make me somewhat less likely to object to any bans on burqas and other styles of clothing which cover the face:

"....It also forced a review by Corrective Services NSW, which has no policy on prisoners wearing burqas.

Matthews, who refused to give evidence during her two-day hearing at Campbelltown Local Court, claimed it was a case of mistaken identity.

Her lawyer Stephen Hopper even argued police couldn't prove that a burqa-clad woman who handed the sworn allegations to police was her....."

She wanted the right to veil her face in public. And then tried to use the fact that she was veiled to get out of criminal charges - since one veiled woman looks very much like any other veiled woman - anonymous.

If I'm caught on tape committing a crime then I'm caught - the tape will show who I am. But if I'm covered up except for eyes and hands, I'm much more unidentifiable. And can always falsely claim mistaken identity if I'm accused or arrested.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw-act/six-month-jail-for-muslim-woman-who-lied-about-police-conduct/story-e6freuzi-1225956851803