André Gerin rules out burqa ban in France

France will issue recommendations against full face veils but not pass a law barring Muslim women from wearing them, a leading backer of a legal ban has said.

André Gerin, chairman of a parliamentary inquiry into use of full face veils in France, reluctantly ruled out a ban.

France banned Muslim headscarves in state schools in 2004 following a similar inquiry and looked set to bring in an outright ban on veils coverings the whole face, such as burqas or niqabs, when it launched the panel last June at the request of Gerin, a Communist deputy from Lyon.

At its weekly hearings, legal experts, local officials, Muslim leaders and even some militant secularists have told the deputies on the panel that a ban could be anti-constitutional, counterproductive and impossible to enforce.