Italy: panel okays bill banning face veils

Equality in dress, Islamic style

Equality in dress, Islamic style

Italy moved closer to banning Islamic face veils in the country when a parliamentary panel approved Tuesday a measure making illegal the wearing of burqas, niqabs and other ethnic face covers.

The House Constitutional Affairs committee approved the bill backed by Premier Silvio Berlusconi‘s People of Freedom party and the right wing Northern League party, sending it for voting before the full House in September.

Under the draft law, violators will be fined $213 to $426 or community service. Those who force others to wear burqas will be penalized severely with a $14,200 fine and one-year imprisonment.

Silvio Berlusconi in a meeting

Silvio Berlusconi. Image via Wikipedia

Proponents of the bill have cited security concerns for endorsing the proposed burqa ban. A social survey also indicates that most Italians do not approve of wearing face veils in public because it degrades women.

via Italian panel okays bill banning face veils | AHN.

More here.

The only thing I don’t like is seeing here a party called Lega Norte. A party one of whose members have supported ETA murders (“We welcome a firecracker or a bomb when if comes to defending freedom“) and some others have supported Anders Breivik’s ideas.

Belgium: New Burqa Ban Challenged in Court

Muslim woman in Yemen.

Muslim woman wearing a niqab in Yemen. Image via Wikipedia

Two Muslim women who wear full veils decided Friday to challenge the ban in the country\’s constitutional court, Belgian media reported.

“We consider the law as a disproportionate intrusion into fundamental rights such as the freedom of religion and expression,” Ines Wouters, the women’s lawyer, was quoted as saying in the newspaper La Libre.

“This measure is discriminatory,” Wouters said.

…The Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner, Thomas Hammarberg, criticised burqa and niqab bans this week, saying such measures threaten to exclude women rather than liberating them.

“In fact, the banning may run counter to European human rights standards, in particular the right to respect for one’s private life and personal identity,” he said.

“The way the dress of a small number of women has been portrayed as a key problem requiring urgent discussion and legislation is a sad capitulation to the prejudices of the xenophobes.”

via Belgium\’s New Burqa Ban Challenged in Court.

If this Mr. Hammarberg would be assaulted by someone dressed in a burqa, I’m sure he would like to know who was the culprit. Oh, well, that surely would make him a dangerous xenophobe wanting to go on a murderous spree… 🙄

Australia: Burqas to come off under new laws

Woman wearing a scarf wrapped around her head ...
Image via Wikipedia

Absolutely logical after this:

Police will be given new powers to require motorists and others suspected of committing crimes to remove any head coverings so they can be identified.Mr O’Farrell said there should be no discrimination – in favour or against any race – when it comes to helping police identify people suspected of criminal breaches.

“I don’t care whether a person is wearing a motor cycle helmet, a burqa, niqab, face veil or anything else – the police should be allowed to require those people to make their identification clear,” he said.

“I have every respect for various religions and beliefs but when it comes to enforcing the law the police should be given adequate powers to make a clear identification.”

via Burqas to come off under new Australian laws « Creeping Sharia.

France: court annuls fine for veil-wearing Muslim driver

Anne, the niqab’d driver, with her “husband”

A French court has annulled a fine imposed on a woman for wearing an Islamic veil while driving.

In April, police in the western city of Nantes fined Sandrine Mouleres 22 euros (£18; $29), saying the veil she was wearing restricted her vision.

Her lawyer hailed the court’s decision to quash the fine on Monday, saying the niqab – which shows only the eyes – did not present a danger.

The “husband” was accused back then of polygamy because he lives with another 3 women besides this one. But he can’t be charged with it, because he hasn’t married (legally) any of them. They live on welfare.

What an smile the "husband" has, hein?


Background: 1, 2.

Italy: Muslims and niqab

Title: Blatant mysogyny.

Kuwait: “I understand European governments that ban the use of niqab”, Sheikh wife says

”I understand European governments that ban the use of the niqab [the veil that covers the whole of the face] or that want to introduce rules forbidding its use. The integral veil is unacceptable and is not even a religious precept”. These are the comments of the Kuwaiti female Sheikh Hussah Sabah Salem al-Sabah, who is currently in Milan for the launch of the ”Al Fann, the art of Islamic civilisation” exhibition, which is being held at Palazzo Reale until January 30.

”If a woman wants to cover her head with a hijab, she is free to do so. But the niqab is unacceptable. There is not a passage of the Koran in which it is written that a woman must cover her face,” the Sheikh told ANSAmed. It is, she says, ”religious fanaticism that has nothing to do with Islam”.

In response to a question on the sad story of Sakineh, the Iranian woman accused of killing her husband and sentenced to death by stoning, Sheikh al Sabah said that ”before being able to resolve a problem as big as stoning, we must remedy the issue of the veil”.

The wife of the Kuwaiti Prime Minister maintains that it is possible to ban the niqab by law. Indeed, it is the right thing to do. ”It is a question of national security. We must know who is behind the veil”. There then follows an equally important issue: communication between human beings. With a symbolic gesture, taking a sheet of paper and placing it in front of her face, Sheikh Hussah asks ”how can we communicate if in front of me there is a wall that separates us?”.


Syria has also banned both niqab and burqa at Universities.

Is anyone going to call this woman racist too?

Syria: burqa and niqab ban in universities

Syria bans the burka and niqab in universities | Mail Online

Syria has banned face-covering Islamic veils from the country’s universities.
The surprise move comes as similar moves in Europe – including controversial calls in Britain for a ban on burkas – have sparked cries of discrimination against Muslims.
The crackdown was ordered by the secular government in Damascus amid fears of increasing Islamic extremism among young Muslim students.
Syria is not a Muslim country. An official at the ministry says the ban affects public and private universities and aims to protect the country’s secular identity.

Are they also going to call Syria racist?

Canada: Bill to restrict niqab scrutinized in Quebec

Bill to restrict niqab scrutinized:

“A National Assembly committee analyzing Bill 94, which would make it illegal for Islamic women to wear the niqab in government offices, schools and hospitals, resumes sitting Tuesday. The hearing will hear from experts on the topic.

Quebec Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier has said the bill is “balanced.” But the Parti Quebecois has called for a ban on all ostentatious religious signs, including the hijab Islamic head covering, in the public sector and finds Bill 94 too meek. Islamic groups say Bill 94 singles them out and is discriminatory.”

Anglican Church: Williams on burqa ban, secularism and Europe

Rowan Williams

Episcopal Life Online – WORLD REPORT:

“Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has deplored attempts by governments in Europe to prohibit Muslim women from publicly wearing the burqa, a garment that covers the entire body.

Governments should have better things to do than ban the burqa,’ Williams, the leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, told an interfaith meeting organized by the National Council of Churches in India at its headquarters in Nagpur, during a visit to India.

…”I believe that the state ought not to be addressing issues like these. Instead, it should leave such concerns to the religious communities,” stated Williams at the Oct. 14 meeting in Nagpur. He described the French ban as “a sign of being overanxious.”

More than 100 church leaders, led by the NCCI’s president, Methodist Bishop Taranath Sagar, and Bishop Purely Lyngdoh, moderator of the Church of North India, attended the meeting alongside Muslims and Sikhs, and members of the Hindu community.

We are glad that the archbishop spoke out clearly on the burqa controversy. He is very objective and respects other faiths,” A. Majid Parekh, a Muslim leader in Nagpur, told ENInews after listening to the Anglican leader.

Williams told ENInews that the controversy generated by bans on the burqa, the Sikh turban and the Christian cross in some European countries, “shows the extension of secularism too far. This ought to be resisted. The communities should have the right to decide on such issues.” Williams said he had protested when a British Airways employee was told she should not wear her necklace cross visibly while at work.

He told the meeting that attacks against migrants in Europe were not the result of Christian prejudice against non-Christians but a “crude nationalist prejudice against migrants and outsiders.”

On the link between religions and terrorism, the head of the worldwide Anglican Communion said that terrorism is a product of “bad” religion. “The positive affirmation of faith in God and respect for one another is the solution for it,” he stated.”

Spain: "Burqa ban hasn’t caused radicalization", Lérida’s Major says

The mayor of Lleida, Àngel Ros, said yesterday in an interview to El món a RAC1 that the Muslim community in Lleida “isn’t in any process of radicalization” after the prohibition, to women wearing the full Islamic veil, of entering municipal facilities. The ban, which also extends to other objects that cover their faces like masks and helmets, has been accepted even by some of the Muslim community. According to Ros, “this has been a clear sign that not everything can be allowed in the integration process.” 
the socialist leader believes that “immigration should be controlled because the welfare state can not assume all“, while generating “activity and wealth in countries from where immigration comes from.” 
Immigrants must accept the roles of the host society” and understand that “go with the face covered in a civic center is not a sign of coexistence,” he said.


Back in July, he told the Islamic community that the Major’s office wasn’t obliged to give religious communities temples, after the closure of the Mosque from Nord street. Local police have counted 1,200 people going to the mosque, while its capacity was of only 240.It’s “obvious” that if they want to pray at a mosque, the community must meet the conditions and legal regulations“, he added. 

The Salafist imam who run the mosque, Abdelwahab Houzi, said that he felt he was being persecuted. 

Translation: T&P.

Canada: Muslim women can be veiled in courtrooms

A Canadian court issued a ruling today on whether Muslim women can be forced to remove their niqab while testifying and, lo and behold, both sides of the debate are happy. That’s because the Ontario Court of Appeal determined that a witness is allowed to refuse to bare her face unless — unless! — the fairness of the trial depends on it. The judges’ ruling reads in part:

There is no getting around the reality that in some cases, particularly those involving trial by jury where a witness’s credibility is central to the outcome, a judge will have a difficult decision to make. If, in the specific circumstances, the accused’s fair trial right can be honoured only by requiring the witness to remove the niqab, the niqab must be removed if the witness is to testify.

A 32-year-old Muslim woman, who accused her cousin and uncle of sexual abuse when she was a child, sparked the ruling when she refused to remove her veil on the stand. Her lawyer argued, “Really, it’s all about making people feel welcome in our judicial system at a time when they’re undergoing significant stress — for example, by being a complainant in a sexual assault case.” Indeed, a blanket courtroom ban on veiling could cause Muslim women to avoid the justice system altogether.


Austria: both major parties include conservative headscarf-wearing women on their lists

Election Campaign with a Veil : Euro-Islam: News and Analysis on Islam in Europe and North America:

Both the Social Democratic Part of Austria (SPÖ) as well as the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), the two largest political parties of the country, have included conservative headscarf-wearing women on their electoral lists for the upcoming Viennese elections.
In both cases the women are so far down on the list that they are sure not become part of the new Viennese council; however, in the case of the SPÖ candidate Gülsüm Namaldi (right), her conservative religious views and support for Turkish-language education has attracted criticism. Meanwhile the leader of the Viennese ÖVP, Christine Marek, called for the “acceptance of the veil as a normal situation” in an interview with the migrant magazine “Biber,” in which she poses with ÖVP’s headscarf-wearing candidate, Sara Rahman (below).

Marek says: (Headscarf) is not an issue, whether they wear a headscarf or not. It has to be accepted as normal and we have done it.
An excerpt:

Mrs. Marek, you are a burqa ban, Sara, as you see it?

Marek: burqa and headscarf – these are really two different pairs of shoes.

Rahman: They are not only two different pairs of shoes, that’s such a big difference as that between winter boots and flip-flops. The burqa is not based on religion. It has traditionally played only a role in Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, I am against a burqa ban. The woman must decide for themselves.

Marek: I do a bit different. In Austria we’re used to be able to look in the face. Where a full concealment takes place, a limit is exceeded. I once had a woman who wore a Nikhab… That’s a strange feeling to see only the eyes. So such women have little chance to integrate, of course. Therefore, I am looking for a burqa ban. This is not the headscarf. If a woman wears a headscarf voluntarily, then we have to respect that.

France: Muslims cry "discrimination" over niqab’d driver affair

Muslims in the French city where a woman was fined for driving wearing a burqa complained of being stigmatised by the affair on Sunday as the political repercussions rumbled on.

With the government planning to ban wearing the burqa in public, the fining of the French woman took a political turn when a minister threatened to punish her Muslim husband for offences including polygamy.

The Muslims of Nantes…are worried by this systematic stigmatisation which goes against the values of the republic,” the collective of Nantes mosques said in a statement.

The association “considers that the stopping of a driver is a judicial procedure and is angry at how such an event has been turned into being all about Islam”.

No, the stopping of a driver is an administrative procedure, not a judicial one. You can always appeal it according to the law.

Is this really “all about Islam“? This woman is married to an alleged poligamyst (something that is forbidden in France, in fact it’s a crime) and she herself is an alleged welfare fraudster, for receiving a social benefit only destined for single mothers.

The woman has challenged the fine as a breach of her human rights.


President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government said last week it would push ahead with a ban on wearing a burqa in public, despite a warning from state legal experts that such a law could be unconstitutional.

In this context, the Nantes incident gained political momentum and dominated the news this weekend.

And now for the allegations against the Government:

Criticising Hortefeux’s move Nantes Deputy Mayor Jean-Marc Ayrault (Socialist, ), said the state authorities had known about the polygamy allegations for some time. “Why are they pretending just now to have discovered the situation?” he said.

Well, better late than never, isn’t it? Just because for some time no measures have been taken, doesn’t mean they cannot be taken now.

The state prosecutor in Nantes, Xavier Ronsin, said that so far no charge had been lodged against the husband, but an investigation could be launched if there were grounds to suspect fraud.

As to whether the man could be stripped of his French nationality, a source close to the investigation said that French law allowed this only in the case of serious crimes against the state such as terrorism, not for polygamy.

The Minister should run an investigation on this guy. And nationality should be stripped from people living obviously according to Sharia Law, as this is based on principles actually opposed to Western democracy. You want to be living by Sharia Law, go to a place where it is allowed.

Le Figaro:

Wearing a beard, dressed in a Pakistani Khamiss, head covered with a skullcap and turban, Lies Hebbadj, the companion of the French converted to Islam, does not go unnoticed in Rezé-les-Nantes, a common Nantes’ suburs. Born in Algiers 34 years ago, he was but a young child when he arrived in the big city in western France, Lies Hebbadj is known for his religious position and his actions as head of the cultural association that he founded to get local officials permission to create a large mosque in the town where he lived and worked for ten years.

Lies Hebbadj is, in effect, a merchant storefront and handles the supply El-butchery Kaouthar, a store brand new and very well kept. But he is also an active member of the Tabligh movement, this movement and ostentatious proselyte whose epicenter is Pakistan, where he has already visited several times in the past. His trips abroad, including London, have also been the subject of ongoing monitoring by the intelligence services. 

But what he accuses Brice Hortefeux him of, is primarily related to his private affairs. Lies Hebbadj, who obtained French nationality through a marriage contracted in 1999 with a Nantes-born woman, is suspected of polygamy. He would have four wives informal, married religiously including French converts to Islam. Women who had given him twelve children.

For now, the authorities remain silent on the possible scam to social benefits paid under the single parent allowance to his companions who all wear the niqab and live in a sort of harem divided among three houses within a contiguous pleasant suburban neighborhood Rezé-les-Nantes. Lies Hebbadj has erected around them a great fence to shield the community from being seen by neighbours.


The controversy over the headscarf ban full took a new turn, this Sunday, fueled by the case of the husband of the veiled driver verbalized in Nantes. On Radio J, the boss of UMP deputies, Jean-Francois Cope, began by providing strong support to Brice Hortefeux. The Interior Minister, who intends to deprive of his citizenship a man suspected of polygamy and welfare fraud, was “having reason to set foot in it“, said the deputy mayor of Meaux.

In addition, Cope has reaffirmed its determination to achieve a law generally prohibits the full veil “before the end of the special session in July, as requested by the President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Francois Fillon.

Later, on TV5 Monde, the Immigration Minister Eric Besson was more cautious on the case of alleged polygamist. The minister, who on Friday called Brice Hortefeux to study the matter, said it was “legally required to verify a number of points“, admitting in passing that it would “probably” difficult to prove polygamy

I repeat what I have copied before: They:

live in a sort of harem divided among three houses within a contiguous pleasant suburban neighborhood Rezé-les-Nantes. Lies Hebbadj has erected around them a great fence to shield the community from being seen by neighbours.

Why a man would live with four women in three houses surrounded by a common fence? He has had sons with all of them. And remember that sex our of wedlock is haram…

Background: Interior Minister wants investigation on niqab’d driver’s husband.

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France: Interior Minister wants an investigation on niqab’d driver’s husband

The niqab’d driver with her husband

The interior minister wants to deprive
the husband of the niqab’d woman of his French nationality. He suspects he is a polygamist and a welfare faudster.

The case of the veil bounces up in place Beauvau. Reacting to verbalisation on April 2, Nantes, by the police to a 31-year-old woman because she was driving while wearing a full veil, the interior minister, Brice Hortefeux, wrote Friday to his Immigration colleague, Eric Besson. In this letter, which Le Figaro had access to, he reveals that according to his information, the husband of the woman “belongs to the radical movement Tabligh and lives in a situation of polygamy, with four women with whom he had had twelve children. Moreover, each of these women would benefit from the single parent allowance.

The Minister continues: “I add, moreover, that these four women would wear the full veil.” The minister concluded: “I ask the prefect of the Loire-Atlantique to immediately take all reasonable steps, with prosecutors and social services, to repress any evidence of polygamy and welfare fraud have been reported. I would be very grateful, also, if you would kindly study the conditions under which, if these facts were confirmed, the person (note: the husband) could be deprivement of his French nationality. ” On Friday the driver gave a press conference where she claimed to feel a “sense of injustice” after been fined with 22 euros by a police motorcyclist who believed that “wearing a full veil while driving affects driver awareness”.

We’ll see the result of this affair.

From The gendarme has made

A reference to Article 412-6 of the Highway Code, which states that “all drivers must be constantly ready and in position to perform conveniently and without delay all its compulsory maneuver”. The field of vision, especially, should not be reduced “by the number or position of passengers transported by objects or by adding non-transparent objects on the glass.”

Her lawyer has said that motorcyclists couldn’t drive with their helmets on. So a niqab is a protective security tool, isn’t it?

More photos from the press conference:

Tablighi Jamaat.
TJ and allegations of terrorism.
Women and the Tablighi Jamat

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Belgium: Parliament fails to pass burqa ban

A party, Open VLD, quitted the coalition government, so the ban failed to pass. The right time for doing so, hein? Just the day when the ban was going to be debated and possibly passed.

Belgium’s parliament on Monday failed to pass a law banning the wearing of burqa and niqab in public as the coalition government collapsed with the resignation of the prime minister.

The center-right Flemish liberal party Open VLD quit the coalition, forcing Prime Minister Yves Leterme to resign and halting parliamentary debate over a bill banning the face and body cover and face veil traditionally worn by Muslim women.

Under the proposed law, violators of the burqa and niqab ban would be fined $17 to $28. Violators also face seven days of imprisonment.

Passage of the law would have made Belgium the first European country to ban the Islamic apparel.

And you know the cause of the split? Because Open VLD speak Dutch while the rest of the coalition are francophones! So:

Belgian Premier Yves Leterme’s government collapsed on Thursday after negotiations broke down to resolve a long-simmering dispute between Dutch and French-speaking politicians over a bilingual voting district.

Yes, and it was yesterday when they reached the conclusion than they didn’t agree on that point. La leche!! What stupid guys!!

Quebec: New Law forbids niqab on communication and identification grounds

{{en}}Women in Adana (Turkey) wearing the niqa...
Image via Wikipedia

Muslim women will be forced to uncover their faces if they want services from the Quebec government, according to landmark legislation tabled Wednesday in the province.

In tabling the bill, Quebec delves into sensitive territory where governments in Canada have largely avoided treading: setting hard-and-fast rules for accommodating minorities.

The bill says people obtaining – or delivering – services at places like the health-or auto-insurance boards will need to do so with their faces in plain view.

Face-coverings won’t be tolerated if they hinder communication or visual identification.

Premier Jean Charest characterized the legislation as a defence of two valued principles, gender equality and secular public institutions.

via The West, Islam and Sharia: Quebec: New Law — No Niqab “Two words: Uncovered face”.

This is a good decision. There has been several crimes which have been unresolved precisely because no one could recognise the person inside burqas/niqabs. Of course, Muslim groups have predicted “disastrous results” if this is passed. They say that they “will isolate more this women”. So that means they are isolated now. Not shocked anyhow, no one wants to be speaking with someone who can be Fathima or Achmed… Smiley

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Philippines: Muslims rally in Mindanao against ‘Islamophobia’

Official seal of City of Cotabato
Image via Wikipedia

Thousands of Filipino Muslims, many of them women and the youth chanting “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Great), launched a series of rallies since Sunday in Mindanao to warn against and denounce the rising tides of anti-Islam and anti-Muslim sentiments sweeping Europe and the United States.

Mass actions were staged in Cotabato City on Sunday with thousands of participants, and in Marawi City on Monday morning, and in the afternoon in this city at Rizal Park.

Speakers, many of them from ulama groups as well as professionals, slammed the pervasive religious discrimination in many EU member countries.

They took turns pointing to anti-Islam acts in Switzerland (the banning of minarets), prohibition of wearing of hijab (scarves) and niqab or burka (face-covering) in France, Germany, and the Netherlands; publication of offensive caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Allaihi Wassalam in Sweden and Norway, among other acts of bigotry.

Aleem Zainal Abedin Saleh in Marawi City recalled the cold-blooded murder by a German citizen in Dresden, Germany, of three-month pregnant Marwa al-Sherbini, 32-year-old Egyptian national, because of her hijab. (carried out by a Nazi who had a deranged mind… But no protest about honor killings, carried out by “devout” Muslims).

In the US, anti-Islam discrimination continues to grow after 9/11, despite the reaching out of American Muslims who are facing strong opposition in some states over the building of new mosques.

via Muslims rally in Mindanao against ‘Islamophobia’ | Manila Bulletin.

Do they know that 85% of Al-Qaeda’s victims are Muslims? Seems killing someone is not as bad as forbidding him/her to wear a burka for equality and security reasons (how many criminals had used the burqa to commit a crime so the police can’t identify them?).

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Egypt: sexual harrassment on the rise

ON 2009, “only” two thirds of women had been assaulted. Now the percentage is even higher, via Women Against Shariah:

According to a study, 98 percent of the foreign women and 83 percent of the Egyptian women have at some point been subject to sexual harassment in Egypt. Often the blame is placed squarely on the shoulders of the victims.

…Most tourist guidebooks on Egypt, particularly those published abroad, warn foreign women regarding sexual harassment in the street and offer advice on how they should act and react. This could easily suggest that this phenomenon is on the rise. The aggression is hardly confined to foreign women; its victims include Egyptian women from all social and religious classes, veiled and unveiled.

…while Egyptian authorities took action and installed security cameras in the center of the city – the site of the 2006 riot, when a crowd of hundreds of sexually frenzied young men participated in violent attacks on dozens of women, surrounding them in the streets, groping and even trying to undress them – to alleviate the phenomenon, the effort did nothing to prevent similar attacks from being perpetrated in other parts of the city. Incidents spread and in fact intensified in other areas, including Al Haram Street and Al Mohandesseen district, where many girls were assaulted on Eid al-Fitr. This time, however, police successfully arrested many of the attackers.

Unfortunately, many dominant beliefs still place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the victims of sexual harassment. Society makes an implicit assumption that women dress provocatively, or otherwise behave suspiciously to excite men into violently attacking them – or blame women simply because they are unveiled or don’t conform to conservative Islamic dress codes.

But this phenomenon is not confined to Egypt and it’s driving women inside their homes even more:

Activists from 17 countries across the region met in Cairo for a two-day conference ending Monday and concluded that harassment was unchecked across the region because laws don’t punish it, women don’t report it and the authorities ignore it.

The harassment, including groping and verbal abuse, appears to be designed to drive women out of public spaces and seems to happen regardless of what they are wearing, they said.

But, not considering the evidence, people then receive this kind of ads:

“You can’t stop them. But you can protect yourself. Your creator has your best interests at heart.”

France: moving closer to banning full Muslim veil

Marianne, French national symbol


An interesting piece which WaPo run some days ago about UMP’s project of banning full Muslim veil:

In a country whose national emblem is Marianne, a bare-chested woman, there is deepening concern over the all-encompassing garb, often black or brown and worn with gloves, attire typical in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. Here, it is widely viewed as a gateway to radical Islam, an attack on gender equality and other French values, and a gnawing away at the nation’s secular foundation.President Nicolas Sarkozy opened the door to a possible ban in June, telling a parliament session in Versailles that such dress “is not welcome” in France. A parliamentary panel set to work in July on a six-month mission gathering information on the garments.

A Widow's Black burqa

On Tuesday, the head of Sarkozy’s conservative UMP party in parliament’s lower house, Jean-Francois Cope, jumped the gun before the panel’s report was finished, and filed draft legislation on a ban. “No one may, in spaces open to the public and on public streets, wear a garment or an accessory that has the effect of hiding the face,” the draft text reads.

The document cites public security concerns, thus includes all face-covering clothes, in a bid to head off challenges from those who might claim such a law would violate constitutional rules on individual rights – a major concern along with how such a law would be enforced. It foresees fines for those who break the law.

The initiative, unlikely to go to debate before spring, would be the second time France targets Muslim dress. A 2004 law born in acrimony bans Muslim headscarves and other “ostentatious” religious symbols in the classrooms of French public schools. Sarkozy’s party dominates parliament and the president reiterated Wednesday his wish for a law on full veils, though it’s too early to say whether it will pass.

Europe’s growing Muslim population has bred tension across the continent. Wariness is pervasive since deadly attacks in Madrid in 2004 and in London in 2005 by Islamic radicals living in Europe. And some non-Muslims sense a threat by a foreign culture to their way of life. It took only four minarets on Switzerland’s 200 mosques to push the Swiss to vote “no” to minarets in a November referendum.

via France moves closer to banning full Muslim veil –

Before: Fadela Amara: The burqa is a prison, a straitjacket, “Allah’s revenge” on Sarkozy for proposing “burqa ban”?, Fadela Amara: more on the burqa ban, Sarkozy’s UMP studies burqa’s prohibition on public places, Curb on veil in Egypt, backed by Islamic clerics, French opposition takes stand against burqa ban.

Marianne | Detail from Delacroix’s Freedom Leading the People, 1830.

Curb on veil in Egypt backed by Islamic clerics

A Widow's Black burqa

Prominent religious leaders say social habit of wearing niqabs has no roots in Islamic law. ‘Any girl is free to wear the niqab as long as she understands that when asked to reveal her face she should do so accordingly,’ sheikh says…. Egypt’s three most prominent religious leaders have backed a government ban on the niqab, or full face veil, in dormitories and examinations, saying it had no basis in Islam.

…More than 13 religious scholars have found that the face veil has no substantial roots in Islam, but rather can be considered a “form of extremism”, the official MENA news agency cited Tantawi as saying.

via Curb on veil in Egypt backed by Islamic clerics – Israel News, Ynetnews.

I wonder if this is linked to the proposition made by Sarkozy’s UMP of banning the full veil in France