May 13, 2010

French parliament opposes burka

by Benjamin Graham

The French parliament has adopted a resolution condemning the full Islamic face veil.

The non-binding resolution said the burka is “an affront to the nation’s values of dignity and equality”.

French lawmakers voted unanimously to adopt the motion, although 30 communist deputies walked out of the vote in protest.

The resolution paves the way for the full-face veil to be banned in public later this year.

“The full veil challenges the values that we share and the very principles according to which we live together,” said Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie.

“The Government is determined to take all means to combat these practices which are contrary to the values of the republic.”

However, opponents to the resolution said if lawmakers ban the veil they risk alienating Muslim citizens.

“We do not want Islam to be stigmatised as a result of this law banning the full veil,” said Mohamed Moussaoui, head of France’s Council of the Muslim Faith.

“Rather than enacting a law barring women from expressing their malaise, we should think about what prompted them to want to cover themselves.”

Martine Aubry, Socialist Party leader, said a complete ban on the face veil will be impossible to implement and “risks being a source of stigmatisation”.

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