Belief Beat

France’s cabinet has just approved a bill making it illegal for women to wear face-hiding veils in public, angering some people who believe this kind of legislation discriminates against devout Muslim women and prevents them from practicing their religion freely.

According to the BBC, however, the French Parliament still needs to approve the bill for it to become law, and France’s top legal advisory body has warned that such legislation may be unenforceable.

Legislators in neighboring Belgium approved a similar ban a few weeks ago, but due to upcoming elections, it hasn’t become law yet. Bans are also being discussed in Italy and other parts of Europe, where a visible increase — though still only displayed by a tiny minority — of women in face-covering niqabs has stoked underlying tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims, immigrants and nativists, and polarized political parties.

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