France: The First Country to Pass a Law Banning the Full Face Veil
On April 11th, 2011 France became the first country to pass a law banning any form of a face veil from being worn in public. The law has brought the headscarf to the forefront of a global debate, and has created high tensions among French Muslims and their fellow citizens. There are many variations of how Islamic women choose to cover up their bodies. The most criticized and more conservative of the variations are called the Niqab and Burka (Burqa). The article, “French Senate votes to ban Islamic full veil in public,” published by BBC news, describes the details and different ways Muslim women choose to wear the headscarf. The Burka covers the entire face and body and has netting surrounding the eyes. The Niqab varies slightly because it has an opening in the eye area. The hijab is the most commonly worn style that women of Islamic faith choose to wear in the western world and only covers the neck and hair. According to CNN World News, there are approximately 2,000 Muslim women who wear the Burka and Niqab in France; however, this ban has influenced women to rise up and demand their right to choose to cover up or not. The ban limits women from wearing the full-face veil anywhere in public, banning the garment from casual walks down a street, a ride the bus, hospital visits, or even at the grocery store. The problem to be considered is does the ban limit the freedom of religious expression that is granted to French citizens? And does the government have the right to set a dress code for its citizens?
France: Setting a Dress Code?
The law banning a full-face veil has received strong support from the French government. The support for the ban was so strong that according to the article “France Enforces Ban on Full-Face Veils in Public,” published in the New York Times, the law passed with only one opposing vote in the lower house of Parliament. Those supporters argue that the ban is “a...
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