French President Nicolas Sarkozy has spoken out strongly against the wearing of the burka by Muslim women in France.
In a major policy speech, he said the burka – a garment covering women from head to toe – reduced them to servitude and undermined their dignity. Mr Sarkozy also gave his backing to the establishment of a parliamentary commission to look at whether to ban the wearing of burkas in public.
“We cannot accept to have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of identity,” Mr Sarkozy told a special session of parliament in Versailles. “That is not the idea that the French republic has of women’s dignity. The burka is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience. It will not be welcome on the territory of the French republic.”
A group of cross-party lawmakers is already calling for a special inquiry into whether Muslim women who wear the burka is undermining French secularism, the BBC’s Emma Jane Kirby in Paris says. The lawmakers also want to examine whether women who wear the veil are doing so voluntarily or are being forced to cover themselves, our correspondent says.
For Yusuf Smith’s comments see Indigo Jo Blogs, 22 June 2009
Update: See also ENGAGE, 23 June 2009