France’s government announced it would apply a proposed ban on face-covering Islamic veils to visiting tourists as well as residents, even as skepticism mounted over the legality of the plan.
Junior family minister Nadine Morano said visitors would have to “respect the law” and uncover their faces, prompting critics to speculate whether Saudi luxury shoppers would be forced to unveil themselves on the glitzy Champs-Elysees. “When you arrive in a country you have to respect the laws of that country,” Ms. Morano said on France Info radio. “If I go to certain countries I’m also forced to respect the law.”
French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday backed a strict public ban of the veil, commonly referred to in France as the burqa, eschewing more moderate proposals that focused on limits in state institutions such as schools and town halls. The draft bill will be presented to the cabinet next month.
If the European Court or domestic courts strike it down, Mr. Sarkozy would suffer his second constitutional defeat in the space of a few months — late last year; his plan for a carbon tax was rejected because its many loopholes violated the principle of equality.