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.