France's lower house of parliament has approved a ban on burqa-like Islamic veils, a move that is popular among French voters despite serious concerns from Muslim groups and human rights advocates.Guess who's among the opposition to the bill outside the parliaments (besides the Socialists)?
There were 336 votes for the bill and just one against at the National Assembly. Most members of the main opposition group, the Socialist Party, refused to participate in the vote.
France is the second European country to impose such a ban, after Belgium's lower house of parliament approved a similar ban in April.
Following Tuesday's vote, the ban on face-covering veils will go in September to the Senate, where it also is likely to pass. Its biggest hurdle will likely come after that, when France's constitutional watchdog scrutinizes it.
If it is approved by the senate, the law will go into effect next year, in order to give citizens time to learn the new stipulations. Violators will be fined 150 euro or forced to undergo studies on the principles of citizenship in France, the bill states.
Initiators of the bill, which include President Nicolas Sarkozy, clarified that its aim is to fight oppression of women. Thus any man who forces a woman to cover her face in public will be fined a staggering 30,000 euro, or double that if the female is a minor.
Amnesty International has urged French lawmakers to reject the bill, and a French anti-racism group, MRAP, which opposes such dress, has said a law would be "useless and dangerous." France's highest administrative body, the Council of State, warned in March that a total ban risks being found unconstitutional.Amnesty Irrational is surely the worst of the bunch here, as this is just one more display of their really, REALLY bad side. I hope this bill is ultimately approved, as it will help tremendously in the fight against shari'a tactics.