French Leaders Push for Ban Of Muslim Dress In Public Places

January 16, 2010

Author: Edward Cody

Source: The Washington Post

France, which regards itself as the cradle of human rights, is moving to impose legal restrictions on Muslim women who wear Afghan-style burqas or other full-face veils.

The restrictions, likely to apply to many public places, come in response to resentment in France and other European countries over the growing visibility of Muslims -- immigrants or locally born -- on a continent with ancient Christian roots. The tensions have long run through European societies but increasingly are coming to the surface as the number of Muslims grows and symbols of their faith, including mosques, are seen as a challenge to European traditions.

Andre Gerin, a member of Parliament who recently completed six months of hearings on the burqa controversy, said that he has nothing against the more than 5 million Muslims in France but that full-face veils are the visible tip of an Islamist underground that threatens the French way of life.