Do They Still Call For ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’?: France Bans the Public Use of Full-Face Veils

11 Apr

As if revolutions, revolts, and natural disasters weren’t enough, France has put into effect the ban on Full-Face Veils in public. The new law, which was approved last year, has been controversial since the onset. Two fully veiled women, who were involved in protests, have already been detained even though the law was put into effect today. The law was approved on Thursday, October 7, 2010 by France’s top legal authority, The Constitutional Council. It was deemed constitutional but could not be applied in places of worship as a result of freedom of religion.

The law sets fines of up to $215 for women who cover their faces   and criminal penalties and fines of up to $42,000 for those who force women to wear the full-face veils. The fines increase if the person forced to wear the veil is a minor. It has not yet been made clear how the law will be enforced seeing as police officers are not allowed to remove the veils from women’s faces. The law also does not apply in private vehicles. As stated in a guide to the Police, officers are able to take anyone who refuses to lift the veil to the police station where they will then be threatened with fines.

Some have claimed that the law is the government’s way of stigmatizing France’s of 5 million Muslims.  Claims have been made that President Sarkozy is attempting to win back votes ahead of next year’s Presidential elections by deliberating placing a stigma on  Muslim women and targeting an already vulnerable minority group. The French government ardently denies these claims, saying instead that the full-face veil is a sign of male oppression.

France is the first European nation to pass the law, while Belgium has proposed but has not yet enforced the law. In the Netherlands, a similar law has been proposed by far-right leaders.


One Response to “Do They Still Call For ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’?: France Bans the Public Use of Full-Face Veils”

  1. lgsproffery May 14, 2011 at 12:45 AM #

    Excellent — perfect length for post; writing very clear.

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