Quote: Sarkozy on the burka

Quote: Sarkozy on the burka

"The issue of the burqa is not a religious issue, it is a question of freedom and of women's dignity," Sarkozy told a joint session of both houses of parliament, held at the Palace of Versailles.

"The burqa is not a religious sign, it is a sign of the subjugation, of the submission of women. I want to say solemnly that it will not be welcome on our territory," he said to strong applause.

Referring to a cross-party initiative by close to 60 legislators last week, who proposed a parliamentary commission to look into the spread of the burqa and find ways to combat the trend, Sarkozy said it was the right way to proceed.

"A debate has to take place and all views must be expressed. What better place than parliament for this? I tell you, we must not be ashamed of our values, we must not be afraid of defending them," he said.

- French President Nicolas Sarkozy

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