French court expels veiled woman after ban clears hurdle

8th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

A French court on Friday expelled a woman from the public gallery for wearing the full Islamic veil, the day after a law banning the garment cleared its final hurdle, an AFP correspondent reported.

"Those people whose faces are visible are allowed to remain in the room wearing their headscarves. However, not that woman in the front row with only the eyes visible," said the presiding judge.

"She is asked to leave the room or take off her veil," she said during the hearing at Bobigny, northeast of Paris, in the case of two men accused of breaking into the home of a local imam who was in favour of the burqa ban.

"I'm not surprised. I was expecting it, but I still took the risk," the expelled woman told AFP afterwards, identifying herself only as a 35-year-old from the nearby neighbourhood of Saint Denis.

France's Constitutional Council on Thursday approved a bill banning the wearing of full-face veils in public, adding that the ban would be unenforceable in public places of worship, where it may violate religious freedoms.

The bill, which aims to protect women's rights but has been criticised as stigmatising Muslims, has been passed by both houses of parliament and is due to come into effect next year.

© 2010 AFP

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