Face Coverings Banned in France!

Many of you may remember a blog entitled “Controversy with Niqabs in Court” about how some European countries were planning on passing laws that make it illegal to wear full face veils not only in court  but in all public places.  Here is an update to that blog.

The law passed and it is  now illegal to wear niqabs in public places in France with fines and jail time if the law is  not followed .  As of July 2010, it was estimated that only 2,000 women wear full veils in France.  Not surprisingly, the bill [now a law in France] is opposed by the 5 million Muslims living there.

Critics argue that the law breaches French and European human rights legislation.  They contend that public places are too broadly defined and includes all streets, thoroughfares and entertainment venues.  Supporters of the bill claim that it is in support of women’s rights and not an effort to single out or stigmatize a religion.

With the implementation of this new law women can be  fined 150 euros for wearing their niqabs in public.  What is more interesting is that this law also proposes to punish husbands who force their wives to wear the burka.  They can receive a fine up to 30,000 euros and jail time.

What is your opinion on this new law?  Does it violate constitutional freedoms?  Can you see the need to eliminate the full facial veil in public places?

Watch this video and listen to the argument from the perspective of  a French woman who intends to ignore the new law and continue to wear her Niqab in public.

2 responses to “Face Coverings Banned in France!”

  1. Chris says:

    You can see the sadness in this ladies eyes. It’s really interesting.

  2. Keith D. says:

    Despite such claims to the contrary, it’s not about women’s rights at all, it’s about exercising power and control over a specific religion that many in France (and other countries) are in fear will overtake their entire society if they don’t find a way to “stop” it. If it were about women’s rights, it would ONLY have the provision of punishing husbands who force their wives to wear them, and would not have a provision to fine women for wearing their Niqabs in public. It might also have a provision preventing them from wearing a Niqab in court, or similar place where it’s an impediment to maintaining law and order and providing justice.

    But because of the provision to fine ALL women wearing a Niqab in any public place, they’ve lost that “moral high ground.” This is about discrimination, period. The portion of the law punishing husbands is a compromise by those who care about women’s rights with those who want to exercise power over people they disagree with or have created reasons not to like.

    Supporting women’s (or anyone’s) rights means giving them choices and freedom, not forcing them to make the polar opposite “choice” that the other side was forcing them to make. This law is no better than the hard-line, fundamentalist Muslims it seeks to punish. It is nothing more than a battle of wills.

    It’s way too much like “my dad could beat up your dad!” “Oh yeah? Well my dad could beat up your dad and your big brother at the same time!” to have come from responsible adults in a leadership position. This law, in its current form, is a travesty, and a step backward to centuries past for civilization.

    This is also an excellent example of the power (and ultimately danger) that fear can have over human beings, and how easily we can be led, misled, or outright manipulated by others who use it effectively as a political tool. That, to me, is the most terrifying implication of a law like this.

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