France: State Council warns full burqa ban might be illegal
Immigration Minister Eric Besson defended the upcoming law. Talking to Europe 1, Besson said: The world, and especially the Arab-Muslim world, is watching us and expecting a strong sign from France."
Eric Besson has told only during travel including the Maghreb and Africa, he met "many women [who] are waiting for a sign to take action in their countries" in their turn. He said that in his travels in the Magreb and North Africa he met many women who were waiting for a sign to mobilize in their own country.
Besson said he supposed a 'total ban in French territory in the name of the dignity of the woman."
France’s top legal body warned the government Tuesday that a complete ban on the burqa in the home of Europe’s largest Muslim minority would be vulnerable to legal challenges.
"It appears to the State Council that a general and absolute ban on the full veil as such can have no uncontestable judicial basis," the body said in a report submitted to Prime Minister Francois Fillon.
But it would be possible to “require that faces be uncovered in some places or for some procedures” involving interaction with the state or security officials, added the body.
The State Council, headed by Jean-Marc Sauve, is France’s top legal body that advises the government on proposed legislation.
President Nicolas Sarkozy has described the burqa, as well as other full face veils such as the niqab, as “contrary to women’s dignity,” and has been pressing for a bill to ban it.
The government had asked the State Council for a legal opinion after a parliamentary report called for a ban on the garment in all schools, hospitals, government offices and public transport.
Sources: Europe1 (French), France24 (English)