Another Frenchwoman fined for driving wearing veil

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French police fined a woman driver for erratic driving caused by her Islamic headscarf, police said Saturday, just weeks after a similar incident sparked a major political row.

Police on Thursday in Vaucluse, south France, had not stopped the driver for wearing the niqab, a veil that leaves only the eyes exposed, but for "erratic" driving, commanding officer Charles Bourillon said.

Bourillon said officers had decided to check the vehicle after it showed erratic behaviour on the road, and it was only when they signalled for the driver to stop that they saw she was wearing a niqab.

The headscarf "was bothering the driver in her manoeuvres... It was obvious she could not see a thing," he said.

Police gave the driver a ticket for 22 euros (27 dollars) for driving with a reduced field of vision.

Officers then suggested that the woman remove her niqab to improve her sight, which she did.

The Islamic veil has become a political hot potato in France.

President Nicolas Sarkozy's government is pushing ahead with a legal ban on wearing full-face veils such as the niqab or burqa in public, despite a warning from state judicial experts that such a law could be unconstitutional.

In April a woman in the French city of Nantes was fined for wearing a veil while driving. The incident spiralled after a minister threatened to punish her Muslim husband for offences including polygamy.

© 2010 AFP

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