Thursday, July 2, 2009

Banning the Burqa?

The French parliament has set up a commission to decide whether the burqa should be outlawed. It follows President Nicolas Sarkozy's speech saying the head-to-toe Islamic garment turns women into prisoners. The French National Assembly announced Tuesday the creation of an inquiry into whether women in France should be allowed to wear the burka, one day after President Nicolas Sarkozy controversially told lawmakers that the traditional Muslim garment was "not welcome" in France.

A cross-party panel of 32 lawmakers will investigate whether the traditional Muslim garment poses a threat to the secular nature of the French constitution. They are due to report back with their recommendations in six months.

In 2004, the French parliament passed legislation banning Muslim girls from wearing headscarves in state schools, prompting widespread Muslim protests. The law also banned other conspicuous religious symbols including Sikh turbans, large Christian crucifixes and Jewish skull caps.

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