France Face-Veil Ban Goes Into Effect Today (POLL)

[ 0 ] April 11, 2011 |

Muslim women in France can’t wear face veils out in public beginning today.

France is the first country to enforce a ban against face veils such as the niqab, which has a slit for women’s eyes, and the burqa, which has a mesh screen over the eyes. Lawmakers there passed legislation banning the face veils on the grounds that they believe Muslims and other immigrants need to integrate better into French society. Women can be fined 150 euros for violating the law, and those who force women to wear a veil are subject to up to a year in prison and a 30,000 euro fine. Muslims women will, however, be able to wear their desired headscarves and clothing in mosques, their homes, a hotel room, or a car, as long as they are not driving.

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President Nicolas Sarkozy said the ban is vital in helping ensure the respect of women’s rights, that they are not subjugated, and the separation of church and state. The French government estimates there are only about 2,000 women among the the country’s estimated 5 to 6 million Muslims who wear the face veil.

While many Muslim women wear the niqab, others may just wear the hijab, a head scarf that doesn’t cover the face. Attempts to curb or ban the wearing of such attire in schools or other places has been controversial, and many Muslims think they are being unfairly discriminated against.

Property dealer Rachid Nekkaz has urged women in France to engage in ‘civil disobedience’ by continuing to wear the veil, and she called on supporters to hold a silent prayer in protest of the ban in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Already on Monday, French police arrested two women and several others protesting the law in front of Notre Dame. Police arrested 59 people, including 19 veiled women, on Saturday who turned up for a protest in Paris against the law.

Take our poll below and let us know what you think of these laws.

Do you think more countries should ban headscarves or other attire that covers the face?

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