French lawmakers vote overwhelmingly in favour of a burqa ban

French lawmakers vote overwhelmingly in favour of a burqa ban July 13, 2010

FRENCH lawmakers today voted overwhelmingly to ban the wearing of face-covering veils in public spaces, as Europe toughens its approach to integrating Muslim immigrant communities.
On the eve of Bastille Day, when France celebrates the birth of what was to become a staunchly secular republic, the 577-seat National Assembly lower house voted by 335 votes to one for a total ban.

The bill will now go to the Senate in September, but opponents of the ban in its proposed form worry that it will eventually be overturned by the judges of the Constitutional Council, France’s highest legal body.
A 'muzzled' French Muslim
Meanwhile, according to this report, a Muslim tycoon in France has revealed that he is setting up a fund to help Muslim women pay fines incurred for hiding their faces in public.
Rachid Nekkaz pledged to sell off  a million euros (£840,000) worth of property in Paris for the fund.
In an open letter published in national newspapers, he said a burqa ban was unconstitutional and any woman fined for hiding her face could come to him for help.
The bill defines public space very broadly, including not just government buildings and public transport, but all streets, markets and thoroughfares, private businesses and entertainment venues.
Just ahead of the vote, Socialist lawmaker Francois de Rugy warned that if judges overturned the law it would be a “priceless gift to the fundamentalists we all oppose” and accused the right of electoral grandstanding.
But Socialist and Communist deputies did not vote against the bill, they simply abstained, and it sailed through the vote without a hitch.
Similar laws are pending in Belgium, Spain and some Italian municipalities, but the ban is particularly sensitive in France, whose rundown city suburbs are home to Europe’s biggest Muslim minority.
Last week, Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie told lawmakers debating the bill that its adoption would assert French values and help to better integrate Muslim communities into the national way of life.
She said being forced to wear the niqab or the burqa:

Amounts to being cut off from society and rejecting the very spirit of the French republic that is founded on a desire to live together. At a time where our societies are becoming more global and complex, the French people are pondering the future of their nation. Our responsibility is to show vigilance and reaffirm our commonly-shared values.

Critics say the law exploits a non-problem – only about 1,900 women among France’s five to six million Muslims wear a veil – in a bid to pander to anti-immigration voters and to distract attention from France’s economic woes.
Mohammed Moussaoui, the head of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, a government advisory body, supports steps to discourage women from wearing the full veil, but has said a law would unfairly stigmatise a vulnerable group.
Communist Andre Gerin, who also supports a ban, said that:

Talking about liberty to defend the wearing of the full veil is totally cynical – for me, the full veil is a walking coffin, a muzzle.

The ban enjoys broad popular support in France. An international poll conducted in April and May by the Washington-based Pew Research Center found that more than eight in ten French voters were in favour of  it.

The same opinion prevailed in Germany, where 71 percent backed a ban. In Britain 62 percent back a ban, and in Spain 59 percent.
Under the new bill, it would be illegal for anyone to cover their faces in public places like streets, parks, public transport or shops.
Fines of 150 euros (190 dollars) will be imposed on those caught wearing the veil, after a six-month grace period to allow time to educate Muslim women about the ban.
Men who force their wives or daughters to cover themselves for religious reasons face stiffer penalties of up to 30,000 euros and a one-year jail term.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn


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  • ZombieHunter

    As much as I’m against the Burqa I don’t think any government should be legislation on wearing it,I do support meassures to prevent men from forcing wives and daughters to cover up as forcing girls to do this is a form of domestic abuse but if a woman chooses to wear the veil thats completely differn’t.
    Besides the biggest problem with this is that it doesn’t specifically say the burqa it says people are banned from covering their faces in public which is simillar to the propsed ban in the UK now what happens when somebody has a hat on or a scarf over their face to keep off the cold, we saw how arrest happy the police got with section 44 hassling photogrophers what happens when people like myself who often wear a hat in public are suddenly getting hassled and told to take our hats off, it’s bad enough getting that shit when you go to the pub, at least I can just go to another pub that doesbn’t have a dresscode, all this banning business only leads down a slippery slope.
    and what about those Muslim girls who don’t wear the burqa or hijab who’ll start wearing it just to spite the ban, governments never seem to learn that prohibition doesn’t work, it didn’t work in the US in the 1920’s when they banned booze and gambling, whenever they called for elvis, the sex pistols, iron maiden, ozzy ossbourne, marilyn manson or eminem to be banned their record sales went through the roof hell even when they banned manhunt 2 in the UK people just downloaded it from the net all this ban on burqas will do is give more fuel to the fire of fundamentalists.

  • Susan

    I can’t believe the French are going to allow their government the power to decide what people can and can’t wear. I wouldn’t allow the likes of Cammy or Cleggers to rifle through my wardrobe to decide which of my clothes are appropriate, and if I wouldn’t stand them deciding for me I won’t support any action which allows them to decide for others. I expected better from the French I thought they were suppose to be the radical ones.

  • David Lawson

    As much as I hate to see women shackled in these cloth bags. I don’t think a ban is the right response. I fear that the controlling husbands/fathers will now just stop them from leaving their homes altogether, making them prisoners.

  • Chris

    I share David’s concerns on this one.
    Obviously, I’d prefer to see this blatantly misogynistic garment wiped of the face of the planet – no doubt untold numbers of Muslim women feel the same way.
    Unfortunately, the arrogant, bearded shits who hold the power in the Musilm world care little for the thoughts of liberal-minded Atheists, and even less for the female breeding stock they “own”.

  • rog

    What’s going on? Where is the anti-burka crowd today 😉
    As I see it, this ban is discriminatory and needs to be opposed.
    The stated reasons for it are simply lies, a veil to cover a the unpleasant face of prejudice if you will…

  • barriejohn

    I agree wholeheartedly with the above comments. I don’t see this as a step in the right direction at all.

  • AngieRS

    I don’t believe it will force the women to stay at home. I can’t see the men going out and doing all the stuff they expect their women to do just because of the inconvenience of not wearing a burka. That’s their power base straight down the drain.
    But I actually do support a ban or something like it. I don’t think it’s a case of someone going through your wardrobe in the slightest. The burka is only worn when outside or when a stranger comes to the house, as I understand it so it’s little more than an overcoat, so in this instance, they are only banned from wearing one in public, indoors they can do as they wish.
    When all is said and done, it is because of a religion, and I will not support any religion, let alone one that forces women to dress like that.

  • Dave

    I find it interesting that many of the people (mostly women) complaining about being told what they cannot wear come from (or have family history to) countries that specifically tell women what they can and cannot do. Is it just that in Saudi Arabia that women are not permitted to drive cars, or to walk down the street with their heads uncovered?
    If the society that they value so much is restrictive, is it not hypocritical to fight restrictions where they end up?
    People are free to travel — I’ve moved country too. If I don’t like the rules and regulations here then I am free to head back to where I came from. Same should apply in Europe.
    There is no perfect country, and there are trade offs. Perhaps the Islamic men and women need to appreciate that in return for the ability to meet freely, express opinions in public that are against the view of the government, to drive cars and uncensored internet that there is an expectation that one’s identity is not concealed in public and that threatening people in public is not an effective persuasion technique. The laws of a nation reflect the general views, opinions and ethics of that nation — don’t like it? Go elsewhere.
    If Muslim women wish to wear a full veil when meeting Muslim men in their homes or community events (incl. religious services and general gatherings) then I doubt anyone would have a problem. When it comes to interacting in society then different norms apply.

  • Pingback: Banned burqas and that freedom thing « Expanding The Proscenium()

  • NeoWolfe

    I don’t believe what I’m fucking hearing here:
    “As much as I’m against the Burqa I don’t think any government should be legislation on wearing it”
    A bank robber of any sex, in a burqa, could walk in packing an assault rifle under that costume!!!!! It may be a goatherder’s idea of modesty, but it’s law enforcement’s idea of disguise. It’s illegal in most western civilizations, as well it should be. If a person is unwilling to show their face, the first logical question is, “What the fuck are you up to?”.
    My vote is, Burqa = mugshot even if she’s wearing nothing under it.

  • L.Long

    NeoWolfe sums my feelings pretty good.
    The 2nd point is how loud would be screaming at the gov’mint doing nothing, if YOUR kid was shoot by some one in a goatpluckers tent and was able to get away, unidentified because S/He/IT was able to smuggle the gun in and escape.
    No is making laws to control what you wear just that what it is does not allow you to hide your identity and/or weapons. Have you all seen the swimming burka?? wear that instead with a removable vail if you’re afraid of the ‘asshole schite for brains idiots’ you islamics call men.
    Then again I like to go nude, fat chance of me stopping the laws that legislate what I have to wear!!! Pluck’em! If I can’t go nude don’t expect me to care about them not being able to wear a tent.

  • ZombieHunter

    Weapons and bombs can be hidden in other things apart from burqas, the london bombers hid their bombs in rucksacks but I don’t see anyone calling for a ban of or legislation on where and when it’s ok to wear a rucksack, a robber male or female could use a clown mask to hide their identity, hell john wayne gacy dressed up as a clown to entertain kids parties before he was caught so how about a government approved clown register just to be safe.
    Also I’m skeptical of the motives of these people in government bleating on about banning the burqa how many of them are bible thumpers who’ll bring in laws over one wacky religious practise but turn a blind eye to and even encourage others.

  • rog

    The thing about suicide bombers, is that they tend, if they are any good, not to be around to face the consequences; so identification after the fact isn’t really a problem for them – if a Muslim woman were on such a mission it would probably be better for operational reasons to blend in and not arouse suspicion on the way to the target, this would favour not wearing a burka on the day…
    Is anyone seriously saying that they believe the burka is a real and present security threat? Go on, admit it – you just like the idea of showing them who is in charge!

  • Janstince

    I’ve said it before:
    1) Not in government facilities or banks. May or may not prevent suicide bombings, but less likely to conceal large weapons for hostage situations at least. Plus, ease of identification is required in those places.
    2) Not for photo IDs. There’s no fucking point in getting your picture taken.
    3) Not while driving. We have enough fuckwits who don’t willingly wear blinders. I don’t give a rat’s ass if your husband is guiding you, take it off or let his lazy ass drive.
    4) If any official asks you to ID yourself, you remove it immediately. Period.
    Beyond that, I agree with stiff penalties for husbands/fathers/brothers requiring it. Elsewise, wear whatever the hell you want.

  • hissing sid

    i cant help but think that this ban by sarko is a cynical attemept to draw floating voters away from la penns’ front national. Still it would be nice not to have to see the mobile body bags walking on the high street tho…….

  • gsw

    Why are all you ‘anti-ban’ people not screaming about current ‘blue’ laws?
    Making it illegal to hide one’s face in the century of CCTVs is just common sense, to use nice oxymoron.
    This has NOTHING to do with dressing/fashions/freedom of choice, it has to do with safety and freedom from fear. If you wish to wear a space suit – fine – but DO NOT COVER YOUR FACE – and don’t use religion to promote things which would not otherwise ever have been permitted.
    What are they all trying to hide? Room for speculation – from wanted murderers to beaten wives.
    What sort of message is this sending to children? Mother becomes a Dalek when we leave the house? Women are sex objects to be hidden?
    Get real.
    (p.s. apologies if this appears twice – having trouble with the internet server)

  • Chris

    GSW: we are not “screaming” because people do not require raised voices to express moderate views.
    Something you may wish to consider before reaching for the bold and Caps Lock options when writing here. No need to shout: doing so reduces rather than enhances your argument.

  • Not sure how I feel about this, but at the same time, people have to remove motorcycle helmets when they enter a bank or building society, so why should veil wearers get a free ride?

  • chrsbol

    I think Janstince sums it up pretty well. Given the exceptions mentioned let them wear what they like. There is a similar scenario whereby a turban wearing Seihk doesn’t have to wear PPE (hard hat) on say a building site because they are exempt on religious grounds. Now that to me is wrong if only because the non-Seihk next to him could be sacked for not wearing PPE(personal protective equipment). On this occasion “let them wear what they like” shouldn’t apply.

  • Angela_K

    I agree that Janstince has it about right.
    It is a pity we can’t ban all public displays of overt religious objects/clothing for all religions.

  • barriejohn

    Wake up and smell the coffee, folks! The French aren’t banning the burqa over security fears!!

  • Broadsword

    Interesting vids.
    Burqas eat spaghetti.
    Iranian police woman ninjas:

  • rJay

    At first I felt rather uneasy with the idea of the French government – any government – telling its people what they can and can’t wear, but don’t they do that already? No one is allowed to walk around naked without their name being put on some sort of register (rightly so) as it’s against social conventions.
    Why shouldn’t this be any different? I feel just as uncomfortable around a woman in a burqa as I do around someone in the buff (in the street anyway!).
    Not to mention what the burqa stands for: oppression.

  • Tony

    Those videos were hilarious. Burqas and spaghetti clearly do not go together. The second video is pure Monty Python.

  • sailor1031

    There are two aspects to this. One is religio – cultural where there is a distinct impression that the burka is worn as a symbolic “up your ass” gesture to the host nation and its culture – a message that says “I have no intention of integrating”.
    The second is a matter of security. There have been bank robberies in France, England, Australia and the USA by people wearing burkas as disguises. As pointed out above it is the perfect way to conceal a weapon. Burkas have also been used in Afghanistan by insurgents to escape into the crowd after an incident…..This ban is based on existence of a material threat.

  • elainek123

    As a woman I have rights, a right to hate to see a woman covering up her face,so I think when you live somewhere it is deemed improper to wear these burkas you should have to be considerate to those around you who hate to see a person in disguise., and seeing her partner dressed in jeans and coloured open necked shirts. I would love to see mens hairy chests covered up. Oh I forgot, they are the chosen and a woman is a nothing in their eyes.
    . WHy give her a face if she is ashamed of it.
    Just a thought did her specs come from Specsavers?

  • rog

    What is this business about burkas being good for concealing weapons?
    As far as the weapon goes a coat would do just as well; I find it odd that people have mentioned assault rifles and burkas and seem to be more concerned about a face covering than the possibility of someone getting hold of military hardware…
    Should we ban beards? after all, they can hide your face and a criminal could use a false one as a disguise…

  • Kenneth Leong

    I strongly support the ban prohibiting citizens – be they men or women, wearing face coverings in public as such will cause security issues whereby prevent the clear facial identification of the wearer.
    Regardless of the wearer’s religious belief, all citizens must abide by the laws of the land in which they reside and or adopted as their homeland. There should be no exception to the proclaimed laws.

  • Har Davids

    I think that if women want to be covered up from head to toe, they should be allowed to, but to make them feel what it’s really like, they should be willing to be treated just like the women in the benighted country Afghanistan are. So, don’t expect to be allowed to drive a car, or get some form of higher education, don’t expect treatment if you get sick from lack of sun-light, and don’t expect to be noticed.
    I’ve seen some women wearing a burqa and I think it’s an insult to our society. You don’t have to be dressed like a tart in training, as some girls and women seem to like, but there are plenty of alternatives if you want to show your modesty.
    For some extra information on the plight of women on planet Islam:

  • ZombieHunter

    @ rog
    lets not forget trenchcoats they can be used to hide weapons too and remember all the furore over trenchcoats after the columbine massacre.

  • barriejohn

    These security fears are all well and good, but that is not what prompted this action. How exactly are the French going to define “face-covering veils”? Anyone remember Balaclava helmets? The words sledgehammer and nut spring to mind here.

  • Broadsword

    I’ll have to give up wearing my Friday 13th hockey mask.

  • barriejohn

    You might be prosecuted for SHOWING your face, Broadsword!

  • barriejohn
  • chrsbol

    I think I saw the link in the main story?

  • barriejohn

    Yes – and I sent it to Barry as well. I think I’d better have a lie down!

  • chrsbol
    I was hoping Barry might put this up.I’ve seen these things abroad and without fail they are always surrounded by unintentional strikes,flies seem to love them as well for some reason.Still it’s all good for community relations.
    “it just shows that the people of Greater Manchester are becoming more cosmopolitan and global-minded.

  • Broadsword

    Looks like “The Bombers Chair” to me……..

  • Bob Hughes

    The cult whose uniform is represented by these garments thrives on a sense of persecution paradoxically coupled with delusions of superiority from which is assumed a licence to perpetrate all sorts of atrocities. It would be a smarter move to minimise bleating opportunities, as they’ll grab anything as an excuse for jihad, even a cartoon: better, then, to let them get on with it, when it comes to streetwear.
    That would also preserve our own high moral ground and emphasise our preference for freedom over oppression. All that should be required in return for this concession – to guests who won’t come to the party dressed as people who actually like the host – is the extension of what little rights the host currently enjoys to express a view of the guests’ dress sense.
    In other words, I’d rather they kept on dressing to prove my point; as long as I retain the freedom to say that their clothes are ridiculous, anachronistic, sexist and offensive. (When I say “retain” that freedom, it’s with fingers crossed, of course.)