France to ban full Islamic veil from public spaces
The French government is drawing up a law to ban the full-face Islamic veil from all public spaces, despite a warning from experts that it could face a legal challenge, a spokesman said Wednesday.
The spokesman for President Nicolas Sarkozy's government, Luc Chatel, said the bill would be presented to ministers in May and would go beyond a mere ban on women wearing the niqab and the burqa while dealing with French officials.
"We're legislating for the future. Wearing a full veil is a sign of a community closing in on itself and a rejection of our values," he said.
Last month, the State Council -- France's top administrative authority -- warned Sarkozy against a full ban on the veil, suggesting instead an order that women uncover their faces for identity checks or for state business.
But there remains broad support in parliament for a full ban and the government is determined to press on with legislation, which it says would affect only around 2,000 Muslim French women who currently cover their faces.
© 2010 AFP