French Senate Approves Ban on Face Veils

As if the French government hadn’t done enough to damage its reputation with respect to its protection of religious and ethnic minorities in recent weeks, the French senate yesterday approved a ban on wearing Islamic face veils (niqabs or burqas) anywhere in public. Once ratified, the law will come into effect after a period of six months during which time the French Constitutional Council will study the new law to make sure that it does not violate any aspects of the state’s constitution. It is possible that a challenge to the ban may be made through the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Read the Guardian’s account of the French Senate’s almost-unanimous approval of the ban.

6 Comments

"Government shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.."

For this 'civil right' to be taken seriously the various 'establishments' of the various religions (ie: the wearing of special clothing, the marriage covenant, etc.) must be identified and understood as exempt from control by secular governments.

To Christine Beems: Madam, the First Amendment you have quoted goes on to say "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." But if I am not mistaken, the US Constitution and its Amendments are not binding on other countries. France has its own constitutional and international obligations on freedom of religion, which the new law may have violated.
BTW, veils or burqas are by no means a religious "establishment," they are pieces of clothing that some women decide to wear, or not.

I think a point being glossed over in the discussion of veils is not that women necessarily have a choice -- "some women decide to wear (them), or not" -- but rather that women can be forced to wear them, to accept a chattel relationship with males, and can be punished with violence for violatios of male-imposed codes.

French Government has done a brave forward step in resolving inequalities and in support of women's rights.
Understandably, however, there will be a lot of political speculation around this issue blaming French Government in escalating racism, seculitarism and anti muslim movement.

Think about it in a different way for one second. What will happen if a motorbike rider walks into a bank with a full helment on? He will be forced to take the helment off of course. Why? Security measure that expects anyone entering a bank to have a full face exposed. Easy to accept that idea? And no biker is offended...
Secondly, Why do we spend millions of tax payer's dollars of installing security cameras everywhere and in public places, when a vail may easily mask a potential terrorist. Please do not make any parallels between a vail and terrorism, a vail is just a mask, which could be potentially used by terrorists . Have you tried to wear am full mask on the street and enter a subway station?

some brief points
1. there is a valid security concern with the face cover
2. a face veil is not a sign of expression?, its more like a form of discrimination and oppression against women and it should not be seen as a form of culture that should be propagated in society

3. democracy is really rule by majority and therefore the French senate decision should stand.

Your blog is called "Open Society".

Why do you plead in favor of unopen face and blame the French?

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