France bans the veil in public places
No liberté, égalité, fraternité for France. Or maybe there is. Just in time for Bastille Day, July 14, when the French stormed the prison holding lower classes as part of the French Revolution of 1789, the lower house of the French Assembly voted for a total ban of the veils in public spaces. If passed by the upper house the bill would prohibit the total face coverings in public spaces defined as
not just government buildings and public transport, but all streets, markets and thoroughfares, private businesses and entertainment venues.
Although anaywhere from 5%-10% of the 64 million plus French population is Muslim according to the CIA Fact Book , a heritage of the country's imperliast past which ended about 50 years ago, most of the French Muslim women do not wear the veil and also did not in their countries of origin in French colonial northern Africa. Rather this potential new law, as are similar laws before the legislatures and courts in other European countries such as Belguim and Spain are either:
According to a French lawmaker who supported the law a way to assert French values and help to better integrate Muslim communities into the national way of life.
She said being forced to wear the niqab or the burqa "amounts to being cut off from society and rejecting the very spirit of the French republic that is founded on a desire to live together."
"At a time where our societies are becoming more global and complex, the French people are pondering the future of their nation. Our responsibility is to show vigilance and reaffirm our commonly-shared values,"
Critics say the law exploits a non-problem -- only about 1,900 women among France's five to six million Muslims wear a veil -- in a bid to pander to anti-immigration voters and to distract attention from France's economic woes.
However 80% of French voters are for the bill; as are
The same mood prevailed in Germany, where 71% backed a ban, in Britain, with 62%, and Spain with 59%.
Vive la France, Happy Bastille Day and oh yes, celebrate diversity Europeans.