Parliament votes to ban burqas

The all-over veils will be illegal from next spring, unless the law is ruled unconstitutional

14 September 2010

WEARING a burqa or niqab in public places will become illegal next spring after a six-month period of “mediation and instruction”.

Parliament has definitively voted for a ban on wearing all-over Islamic veils with a Senate vote of 246 to one.

The law concerns burqas, which cover the whole body, and niqabs, which cover the head, just leaving a slit for the eyes.

Wearing them will result in a €150 fine and/or being obliged to take a citizenship course. Anyone forcing a woman to dress this way will face a year in prison and a €30,000 fine.

Justice Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie said the law was “a question of dignity and equality.”

The law will be reviewed by France's highest court, the Conseil Constitutionnel, which could strike it down.

France, where only around 2,000 women actually wear burqas, is the first European country to introduce such a ban, although Belgium is considering one.

Photo: © ajancso - Fotolia.com

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