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Lawmakers in France propose ban on burqa

today Jan 26, 2010
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By Carole Landry (AFP)

PARIS — A French parliament report is calling for a ban on the full Islamic veil, saying Muslim women who wear the burqa are challenging French values in an unacceptable manner.

Photo: AFP

After six months of hearings, a panel of 32 lawmakers recommended a ban on the face-covering veil in all schools, hospitals, public transport and government offices -- the broadest move yet to restrict Muslim dress in France.

"The wearing of the full veil is a challenge to our republic. This is unacceptable," the report said. "We must condemn this excess."

The commission called on parliament to adopt a formal resolution stating that the all-encompassing veil was "contrary to the values of the republic" and proclaiming that "all of France is saying 'no' to the full veil."

The National Assembly resolution would pave the way to legislation making it illegal for anyone to appear with their face covered at state-run institutions and in public transport, for reasons of security.

Women who turn up at government offices wearing the full veil would be denied services such as a work visa, residency papers or French citizenship, the report said.

The panel stopped short of proposing broad legislation to outlaw the burqa in the streets and all public venues such as shopping centres.

Lawmakers cautioned that such a measure would first have to be reviewed by the courts to establish its legality.

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