France's Constitutional Council Approves Burqa Ban
France's Constitutional Council endorsed a law that bans burqas and the niqab, full body and face coverings, in public spaces. This was the last legal obstacle before this law could go into effect, reports CNN. The Council has however added an amendment to this law stating that it will not apply to places of worship, based on the French Constitution, which protects the free expression of religion, according to Liberation.
The original legislation came from a panel of French lawmakers who recommended a ban last year, and passed a non-binding resolution in May calling the full-face veil contrary to the laws of the nation. When enacted, the law will impose a fine of approximately $190 and/or a citizenship course for women wearing a niqab or a burqa. Additionally, any person forcing a woman to wear a full-face veil will face a year in prison or a $19,000 fine.
Given the reaction of Islamic fundamentalist websites stating that this ruling is an attack not just on burqas, but on Islam itself, many fear the repercussions of this law, according to the Independent.
Media Resources: CNN 10/7/10; Liberation 10/7/10; Independent UK 10/8/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 9/15/10