Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Opposition to French bid to outlaw burqa

Moves to outlaw the burqa in France met a challenge today as the opposition Socialists formally came out against government plans to ban it.

Moves to outlaw the full-face Islamic veil in France met a challenge today as the opposition Socialists formally came out against government plans to ban it. The announcement by the Socialists - whose members had previously expressed diverging views on the issue - came a day after President Nicolas Sarkozy left open the prospect of legislation to ban the veil, known as a burqa or niqab. The Socialist Party opposes the wearing of the burqa but "is not favourable" to a legal ban on it, which would amount to an inconsistent "ad hoc law", its spokesman Benoit Hamon said on radio station RTL.

"We are totally opposed to the burqa. The burqa is a prison for women and has no place in the French Republic," he said. "But an ad hoc law would not have the anticipated effect." He added: "It is not the state's job to judge what is the right interpretation of the scriptures ... We should not make a law when it is not clear how it would be enforced." Mr Sarkozy himself has said that the burqa is not welcome in France but has not waded into the debate on whether legislation should be enacted.

The parliamentary leader of his right-wing UMP party Jean-Francois Cope has said he will propose a bill this month to ban the wearing of the burqa in public to defend France from "extremists". On Tuesday Mr Sarkozy raised the prospect of a non-binding parliamentary resolution against it and said he was not opposed to legislation, members of his right-wing UMP party told AFP. * AFP

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 A view of a defaced portrait of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during an anti-North Korean rally on the 102nd birthday of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung in central Seoul. Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

Best photography from around the world, April 15

The National View's photo editors pick the best images of the day from around the world.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National