Sunday, 10 January 2010

France to Fine Women Who Wear Burqas in Public

I heard about this on a topical debate show the other day [I was snowed in, couldn't go to work and indulged in some morning tele :-)] and just the sound of something like this actually becoming a part of France's legislation made me shudder and wonder how the women who choose to wear the niqaab would feel about this. The pro-legislators argument that these women who wear the niqab are not only discriminating others by choosing to cover their identity, but are also degrading themselves in the process; just smacks of pure hypocrisy and ignorance to me. If this piece (of crap) passes the National Assembly, I dread to think how the hostile atmosphere between the French Muslims and non Muslims will be exacerbated, surely it's nothing but another stick to beat us Muslims with. Why we can't just be left alone to get on with our lives, Lord knows. Anyway, more than the article itself, you may find the comments made at the end of the article, slightly more entertaining. Go "The Muslim" person! Click here to check it out.

Wearing a burqa in France may soon result in a fine. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

The French government is taking aggressive action against burqas -- the veils worn by Islamic women to obscure their faces.

In a decision destined to cause an uproar, the president of France's leading UMP Party has announced that he is drafting legislation that would fine those who wear a burqa on the street or in a public place, the Daily Mail reports.

Jean-Francois Copé, who is reportedly ready to file the draft in the National Assembly, suggested that fines be as much as 750 euros (approximately $1,073).

Copé said that the fines would also apply to anyone who covers their face in public as well as men who force their female family members to wear a burqa, according to the paper.

"Permanently masking one's face in public spaces is not an expression of individual liberty," Copé has reportedly said in the past.

"It's a negation of oneself, a negation of others, a negation of social life."

The move is just the last effort by the French government to ban the controversial veil. President Nicolas Sarkozy has previously stated that burqas were "not welcome" as they stand as a "sign of subservience and debasement that imprison women," the source adds.

As we previously covered, French immigration minister Eric Besson has also called for a burqa ban, deeming them "unacceptable."

Meanwhile, a parliamentary commission investigating the veil is reportedly due to publish its findings next month.

Though France is home to more than five million Muslims, cites the paper, a recent police report stated that only about 400 women there wore veils because the majority of the country's Muslim immigrants come from North Africa, where veils are less prominent.

Still, it remains to be seen what effect a proposed heavy fine will have on the country's Muslim community -- and whether such a fine violates France's rights to religious freedom.

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