France Moves to Ban Burqas

The French cabinet approved legislation to ban the wearing of full-face veils on 19 May 2010. The parliament of France still has to decide upon the proposal in July, and after that the law will go to the Senate in September. French president Nicolas Sarkozy said that “the burqa violates the dignity and equality of the Republic”. Under the proposed law, violators will be fined €150 ($190) and they will have to take citizenship classes. Men who force Muslim women to wear the veil will be punished more strongly under the draft bill with up to one year of prison and a fine of €15,000 ($19,000).
The proposal is expected to affect only some 2,000 of the over 5 million Muslim women in France, as only very few wear the traditional veil. This is according to numbers of the interior ministry of France. The bill was approved even though France’s council of state warned that it could be unconstitutional.