Sarkozy to submit bill banning Islamic veil

April 21, 2010 04:18 pm | Updated November 28, 2021 08:45 pm IST - PARIS

French President Nicolas Sarkozy

French President Nicolas Sarkozy

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has ordered legislation that would ban women from wearing Islamic veils that fully cover the face and body in public places, the government said Wednesday.

It is Mr. Sarkozy’s first political action toward an outright ban, though he has repeatedly said such outfits oppress women and are not welcome in France, home to a firmly secular government.

Government spokesman Luc Chatel said after a Cabinet meeting Wednesday that the pre sident decided the government should submit a bill to parliament in May on an overall ban on such veils “in all public places.”

That ups the stakes in Mr. Sarkozy’s push against veils such as the burqa and niqab and chador. Some in his own party have bristled at a full-out ban, and France’s highest administrative body has questioned whether it would be constitutional.

Mr. Sarkozy insisted that “everything should be done so that no one feels stigmatized,” according to Mr. Chatel. Mr. Sarkozy said the veils “do not pose a problem in a religious sense, but threaten the dignity of women.”

Mr. Chatel did not say how the new bill would affect a resolution already slated for discussion in parliament May 11 on ways of limiting the full veils.

France, nominally Roman Catholic, but also home to western Europe’s largest Muslim population of at least 5 million. Very few French Muslim women wear face-hiding veils, but the issue has become a flashpoint of debate on national identity, the rights of religious groups in France’s secular society and integration of France’s immigrant populations.

Legislators and members of the government have been discussing ways to limit veils such as the burqa and niqab and chador for months. France banned Muslim head scarves and other “ostentatious” religious symbols from classrooms in 2004.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.