French parliament endorses burqa ban in public

08:38, September 15, 2010      

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The French parliament finally passed Tuesday a bill to prevent women from wearing face-to-toe veil covering whole body in public spaces across the country.

French Senate voted 246 to one to approve the burqa ban bill. France now reside 5 million Muslims, ranking as the largest Islamic community in European Union.

Women who violate the ban and insist putting full-face-covering veil in administrations, hospitals and parks risk to be fined 150 euros (about 195 U.S. dollars) or take citizenship lessons, while any man convicted of forcing their wives to wear the burqa will have to pay a 30,000-euro-fine and face jail term up to one year.

According to figures from the Interior Ministry, some 1,900 Muslim women are wearing the burqa across France.

"Long live the Republic with no covered face, is a question of dignity and equality. It is a question of respect for our republican principles," French Justice Minister Michele Alliot- Marie said.

The ban will come into force next spring if the Constitutional Council gives green light to the bill after final review.

Officials say the ban is a measure likely to preserve security and to guarantee women's rights but critics fear the measure will stigmatize Muslims and fuel racism. (1 U.S. dollar = 0.768 euros)

Source: Xinhua


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