French Law Bans Islamic Veil

PARIS—The French Senate approved a bill on Sept. 14 to completely ban full Islamic veils—burqa and niqab—in public places.

This adoption of the proposal already reviewed by the lower house of the bicameral French Parliament—the National Assembly—could open the way to first concrete actions against those face-covering veils starting Spring 2011.
Women wearing niqab or burqa, as well as persons fully covering their face for any reason, could be fined 150 euros (approximately US$200) and be required to attend a “citizenship training session.”

In addition, anyone forcing a woman to wear a full-face veil could according to the new law be fined 30,000 euros (approximately US$40,000) and be sentenced to prison for up to one year.{etRelated 38663,

However, the French constitutional council, the legal body reviewing all new laws to assess their conformity with the French Constitution, could refuse to ratify the text on grounds of racial discrimination. In June, the state council—the highest French administrative body—had already made clear that it had serious concerns about the applicability of the law proposed by the French government.

Two grounds could help the law gain acceptance by the constitutional council: the security issue that the government says is associated with full-face coverings, and the republican tradition of France that protects both the individual’s right to belief and the laicity of the public space.

France is the first country in Europe to adopt this law, which is also being discussed in countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands.

An estimated 2,000 women in France wear full-face covering. The country has a population of 65 million including 5 million to 6 million Muslims. –  Theepochtimes