Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The French Parliament overwhelmingly approved a ban on wearing face-covering, burqa-style Islamic veils today in an effort to protect French values and culture that has slipped away in recent years, as the country’s Muslim population grows ever larger.
Proponents of the law say face-covering veils don’t square with the French ideal of women’s equality or its secular tradition. The bill is controversial abroad but popular in France, where its relatively few outspoken critics say conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy has resorted to xenophobia to attract far-right voters.
The ban on burqas will go in September to the Senate, where it also expected to pass.
Spain and Belgium have similar bans in the works. France has the European Union’s largest Muslim population. 5 million of the country’s 64 million people are believed to be Muslim.