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Belief Beat

France Moves Closer to Law Against Full Face Veils, Angering Some Muslims, Women

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.


What do you think? Check back for updates and share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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posted May 19, 2010 at 7:31 pm

I thought the face-covering niqab was a cultural, not religious item

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posted May 19, 2010 at 8:42 pm

I think the French think of the face-covering as going back in time culturally, also it isn’t safe, it scares children, it’s depressing to see, and many other reasons. After all it is France and they have a right to have their country the way they want it. The Muslims can wear their face-coverings in all religious places. It seems fair to me.

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Steve in Arizona

posted May 19, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Go France. This is your opportunity to change your reputation of the past 200 years. Do it! Forbid the veil. Don’t let the Muslims take over your country. We can give you some lessons on having a spine, if you want.

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posted May 20, 2010 at 12:25 am

If the Islamic nut cases don’t like it they can go back to their oppressive Islamic countries and live there!

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posted May 20, 2010 at 12:28 am

Let them hide their faces at home. Go France ban it on public places because of security reasons. Can’t identify if man or woman or terrorist behind covered faces?

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posted May 20, 2010 at 12:31 am

Let them hide their faces at home. Go France ban it on public places because of security reasons. Can’t identify if man or woman or terrorist behind covered faces?

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posted May 20, 2010 at 3:39 am

if they dont like the law then move out of that country!!!!!!!!

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posted May 20, 2010 at 3:42 am

I am Christian but,while I don’t agree with the Muslim religion,I also do not agree with religious discrimination of any kind. France banned the niqab and burka because it is a secular country. How long before Christians are singled out for violating the secular mantra of no religion? It is just a thought.

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posted May 20, 2010 at 9:51 am

If a person moves to France, or for that matter any other country, then he/she should expect to embrace the culture of that country. Female westerners who live in Saudi Arabia are expected — mandated — to cover up completely. Why is no one demanding that Saudi Arabia relax those laws? If someone doesn’t wish to follow the customs of the country in which they live then they should find a place that honors their own customs. I’m delighted that France has taken this position. Wearing the burka or the hijab is cultural, NOT religious. Nowhere in the Koran are women told to cover from head to toe or to cover their faces. In fact, women of the middle east covering their faces pre-dates Islam and there are references in the Old Testament to women veiling the face. It really isn’t Islamic, it’s cultural, but the two have become entwined. Move to France and behave like a French citizen!

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posted May 20, 2010 at 2:35 pm

You said it, Dorothy!
It is cultural — NOT religious. It’s outrageous — in ALL the countries where Muslims are presently making demands and threats: U.K., Canada, Norway, Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, So. Africa …. in our own country, Detroit has already fallen.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Don’t like Rome? Go home, ET, go home.

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