French veil ban won't endanger NATO troops: Morin

17th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

France's plans to ban the full-face veil in public have not placed NATO troops in Afghanistan in greater danger, French Defense Minister Herve Morin said Thursday.

French and other forces in the US-led coalition already were under serious threat in the war, and the French parliament's backing for a law barring Muslim veils such as the burqa or niqab (face veil) would not make a difference, Morin told reporters after talks at the Pentagon.

"The risk and the threat are constant... and I don't have the feeling that this fundamentally changes things," he said when asked about the proposed ban. "When you are at the maximum ... you can't go beyond that."

The French parliament passed a law Tuesday banning the wearing of a full-face veil in public, meaning a ban will come into force early next year if it is not overturned by senior judges.

The move has triggered criticism in some Muslim countries, with Islamic authorities in Asia warning that the planned ban could spark a terrorist backlash.

Morin, however, said that Paris had heard "no reaction from any Arab capital city on this subject."

The threat to burn hundreds of Korans at a small church in Florida last week triggered outrage across the Islamic world and angry protests in Afghanistan.

The pastor who planned the Koran burning cancelled the event at the last moment.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and General David Petraeus, the commander of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, had warned that the Koran torching would jeopardize the safety of coalition troops.

Petraeus said this week that the mere threat of Koran burning had left a mark on Afghan attitudes and done "damage."

© 2010 AFP

0 Comments To This Article