France plans bill banning veil for spring

A bill banning the full Muslim veil will be introduced this spring, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Thursday. “A full veil that hides the whole face runs contrary to our idea of free and open social interaction. In a democracy, we don’t live behind a mask. That is why we have decided, with the president to legislate in the spring, ” Fillon said.

While a law against the full veil was already in discussion, no precise calendar had been put forward until now.

“All religions deserve respect, but what should not be respected is aggressive proselytizing, and withdrawing into one’s community”, Fillon told an audience of UMP party activists and supporters, at an electoral meeting in the west of France.

His announcement comes three days ahead of the first round of regional elections which is expected to end in an embarrasing defeat for the ruling party. With the far-right Front National in a position to overtake the UMP, the Prime Minister linked the “burqa legislation” to immigration. “There’s nothing shocking in saying that those who settle here should adopt the heritage of the home of Human Rights”.

According to the media, police research has shown that the full veil is a very limited phenomenon in France, with at most several thousand women, many of them French converts, opting for the attire.

France 24, 12 March 2010

See also Islam Online, 12 March 2010