France: French Parliament passes bill to ban burqa

Tagged in: Equality

Tensions around freedom of religion and the wearing of the full-length Muslim veil have come to the fore once again in France, as last week the lower house of parliament voted strongly in favour of banning the "voile integral" or "burqa" in public places. The bill will face the Senate in September, with the more challenging hurdle of constitutional scrutiny following. If passed, it will make France the second European country, following Belgium, to make the wearing of the Muslim veil in public a criminal offence with a sanction of a fine of €150.

The ban has proved a highly controversial issue in France, which has an almost 10 per cent Muslim population. The Council of State, France's highest legal advisory body which among other things advises the Government on the preparation of bills, has given a warning that a ban on face veils in all public places would be unconstitutional.