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Saturday, 5 March 2011

NO Burka in France as of may 2011

No Burka in France next month, France not afraid to stand
its ground unlike the British

France's law banning the burka and other Islamic face
coverings in public places will go into effect on April 11, the prime
minister's office said.

"The French Republic lives in a bare-headed
fashion," French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said this week in an
official government newspaper explaining the law.

The law imposes a fine of 150 euros. The person breaking the
law can be asked to carry out public service duty as part of the punishment or
as an alternative to the fine.

The law, which was enacted in October, set down a six-month
period to inform people of the penalty before it went into effect.

Penalties for forcing a person to wear a burka are part of
the law, and they became effective immediately in October.

Forcing a woman to wear a niqab or a burka is punishable by
a year in prison and a 30,000 euro fine. Forcing a minor to do the same thing
is punishable by two years in prison and 60,000 euro.

The government has called this coercion "a new form of
enslavement that the republic cannot accept on its soil."

The practice has sparked a debate over religious freedom.

The French Constitutional Council said the law did not
impose disproportionate punishments or prevent the free exercise of religion in
a place of worship, finding therefore that "the law conforms to the

"Given the damage it produces on those rules which
allow the life in community, ensure the dignity of the person and equality
between sexes, this practice, even if it is voluntary, cannot be tolerated in
any public place," the French government said when it sent the measure to
parliament in May.

Lawmakers have also cited security reasons for forbidding
people from covering their faces in public.

French people backed the ban by a margin of more than four
to one, the Pew Global Attitudes Project found in a survey last year.

Some 82 per cent of people polled approved of a ban, while
17 per cent disapproved. That was the widest support the Washington-based think
tank found in any of the five countries it surveyed.

Clear majorities also backed burka bans in Germany, England
and Spain, while two out of three Americans opposed it, the survey found.

The ban pertains to the burka, a full-body covering that
includes a mesh over the face, and the niqab, a full-face veil that leaves an opening
only for the eyes.

The hijab, which covers the hair and neck but not the face,
and the chador, which covers the body but not the face, apparently are not
banned by the law.

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