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The French are now proposing a partial ban of women wearing the burqa. First, one has to decide if the burqa is religious (since not all Muslims wear them and since it is not required by Koran, it can’t be seen as just religious) or cultural (which seems to be the case). But, here’s the issue: those who wear them see them as cultural-religious expressions. So, the issue becomes: Where does one stop and how far into one’s religious life does one intrude? I’m inclined to say this ruling is contrary to French freedom (and to a Western sense of democratic freedoms, including religious and cultural freedoms of expression).


What are your thoughts?

Paris, France (CNN) — French lawmakers Tuesday recommended a partial ban on any veils that cover the face — including the burqa, the full-body covering worn by some Muslim women.

The ban on the “voile integrale” — which literally means “total veil” — would apply in public places like hospitals and schools, and on public transport, a French parliamentary commission announced.

It would also apply to anyone who attempts to receive public services, but it would not apply to people wearing the burqa on the street, the commission said.

The commission stopped short of recommending a full ban because not all of the 32 commission members could agree on it.

They will now recommend that Parliament pass a resolution on the partial ban. Such a resolution, if passed, would not make the wearing of a full veil or burqa illegal, but it would give public officials support when asking people to remove it.

Commission members began their work six months ago after French President Nicolas Sarkozy controversially told lawmakers that the traditional Muslim burqa was “not welcome” in France.

Sarkozy said the issue is one of a woman’s freedom and dignity, and did not have to do with religion.

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