One runs her own company, another is a housewife and a third, a divorcee, raises her children by herself. Like nearly 2,000 other Muslim women who freely wear face-covering veils anywhere in France, their lives will soon change and they are worried.
On Wednesday, French Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie presented a draft law to the Cabinet banning Muslim veils that cover the face, the first formal step in a process to forbid such attire in all public places in France. It calls for euro150 ($185) fines and, in some cases, citizenship classes for women who run afoul of the law.
"Citizenship should be experienced with an uncovered face," President Nicolas Sarkozy told the Cabinet meeting, in remarks released by his office. "There can be no other solution but a ban in all public places."
Although the Interior Ministry estimates there are only 1,900 women who cover their faces with veils, the planned law would be another defining moment for Islam in France as the nation tries to bring its Muslim population — at least 5 million, the largest in western Europe — into the mainstream, even by force of law.
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Posted May 20, 2010 at 5:30 am
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