Friday, July 23, 2010

France Takes a Bold Step

THE FOLLOWING good news is excerpted from an article by Deborah Weiss entitled, France Gets Serious:

There’s a movement afoot to ban the burqa in Europe. And it just scored another political point in France. On July 13, the lower house in the French Parliament voted overwhelmingly to outlaw wearing burqas and niqabs in public.

On the eve of Bastille Day, which marks the birth of the secular republic of France, the French National Assembly passed a bill to ban full face veils with 335 votes in favor of the bill and only one vote against it. The bill will go to the Senate for a vote in September, where it is expected to pass.

Most Members of Parliament view this bill as a means to liberate women from male subjugation and make a statement for gender equality. Feminist organizations in Europe agree. In France, which has the largest Muslim population in Europe, nine out of ten people support the burqa ban. Those opposing the ban consist primarily of Muslims.

If the bill passes in the Senate, it will be sent directly to the Constitutional Council, France’s highest constitutional authority, for a ruling on its constitutionality. It might also be sent to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasburg, which issues decisions to which France is legally bound.

Many other countries are contemplating burqa bans. Municipalities in Spain, Belgium and Italy have bans already in effect. Additional locations are in varying stages of legislative debate and passage. There is also a growing movement amongst the general public calling for burqa bans in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Denmark.

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