France considering proposal to ban burqa

June 20th, 2009 - 12:37 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 20 (ANI): French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s Government is considering a proposal of parliamentarians to ban the burqa and other Islamic clothing.

French MPs called for an inquiry into the wearing of the head-to-toe Islamic veil in the country, and whether Muslim women who cover themselves completely in public constitute an assault on French secularism and women’s right.

Luc Chatel, a government spokesman, said that all the options were open, including a ban, The Telegraph reports. “If it were determined that wearing the burka is a submissive act, and that it is contrary to republican principles, well naturally parliament would have to drawn the necessary conclusions,” he said.

If that meant introducing new legislation, Luc Chatel said, “why not”.

French MPs call for a parliamentary commission to consider the fate of the burqa got support from senior figures in Sarkozy’s Government.

While France’s Muslim Council said the proposal “stigmatized” Islam, a commission is now expected to be established on the urging of the group of 65 politicians led by André Gerin, a Communist MP. Many of the 65 MPs are members of Sarkozy’s Right-wing UMP party.

Gerin is also mayor of the southern city of Venissieux, which has a high immigrant population and where he complains women cover themselves in “mobile prisons”.

The proposal won the support of Fadela Amara, the Urban Affairs Minister and a women’s rights campaigner whose parents were Muslims, The Telegraph reports.

“We must do everything to stop burqas from spreading, in the name of democracy, of the republic, of respect for women,” she said, describing the garment as “a kind of tomb for women.”

In 2004, France passed a controversial law forbidding any conspicuous religion symbols from state schools, including veils, which are banned in government offices. (ANI)

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