French Muslims fighting Burqa Ban from the UK

10.06.2011

Some British tabloids reported that a French Muslim couple use ‘British taxpayer cash’ (Daily Mail) to fight the burqa ban in France. Following the introduction of the ban in April this year, the couple moved to Britain to avoid consequences from the new legislation. Now based in the West Midlands, the couple utilized the British Immigration Advisory Service, a free legal service supported through taxes, to challenge the French ban at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Not only do they see their freedom of choice restricted; they also consider the ban to restrict their free movement rights within the EU, as they cannot live and work in the country of their choice – while also freely manifesting their religious beliefs in public. The couple’s case leaves the Immigration Advisory Service in a difficult position. According to a spokesman, the IAS mainly represents asylum seekers and other migrants who cannot afford legal aid privately. Furthermore, the Service only gave legal aid to cases involving British law and concerned with immigration. Even if IAS decided to represent the couple, the service would not be paid for by legal aid.