July 18, 2008

France denies citizenship to veiled Muslim

by David Masters

The country with the largest Muslim population in Europe has denied a Muslim women citizenship because she veils herself from head to toe.

Faiza Mabchour, 32, originally from Morocco, was denied French citizenship on the basis that she has failed to assimilate into society.

The decision has been upheld by the highest legal authority in France, and is supported by politicians from across the political spectrum.

France’s minister for Urban Affairs, Fadela Amara, said that the veil is a symbol of oppression and called the burqa a prison and a straightjacket.

The ruling follows a 2004 law passed in France banning the Islamic headscarf and other highly visible religious symbols from being worn in public schools.

Despite the decision’s widespread support in France, some voices of dissent are making themselves heard.

Mohammed Bechari, president of the National Federation of French Muslims, was concerned where it would end and wondered what what would be called radical behaviour.

Critics from outside France have accused the French government of hiding behind secularism as an excuse for fear and intolerance of Islam.

France is home to 5 million Muslims, the largest Muslim population in Europe, and the number of Muslims migrating to France continues to grow.

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