Sarkozy Dresses Down the Burqa
French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared that burqas worn by Muslim women are no longer welcome in France. The full-body veil, symbol of women’s “enslavement,” he said, is a threat to gender equality and to France’s long-standing secular democracy. Only a minority of women among the roughly 6 million Muslims in France wear such attire, but Sarkoz’s new hard line is sure to fan the debate.
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Nicolas Sarkozy today took a hard line in France’s latest row over Islamic dress, saying full veils and face coverings were a sign of women’s debasement and “not welcome” on French soil.
More than 50 MPs, mostly from the president’s centre-right UMP party, last week backed calls for a parliamentary inquiry to debate whether Muslim women who wear full-body religious veils with only their eyes visible posed a threat to the republic’s secular values and gender equality. A government spokesman had suggested that a law could eventually be proposed to ban full coverings from being worn in public in France.
Sarkozy today used his first state of the nation speech to defend the French republican principle of secularism and attack full Islamic veils
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