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Global Post: French Identity Debate: Beyond Burqas

Author: Mildrade Cherfils
January 26, 2010


Mildrade Cherfils of the Global Post discusses the recent recommendation by French lawmakers to forbid women from wearing head-to-toe Islamic dress in some public spaces, and how this proposed law relates to the question of "French identity," including issues of immigration, integration and religion.

PARIS, France - A panel of French lawmakers has recommended passing a law to forbid women from wearing head-to-toe Islamic dress in some public spaces such as government buildings, hospitals, outside of schools and public transportation. Those who failed to obey the law could be penalized by a denial of service.

No surprise, the decision has sparked an outcry. But what some readers might be surprised to hear is that the loudest voices hoped the panel would recommend a stronger ban of the burqa in all public places to send an emphatic message, instead of what some lawmakers called a "half-law." The term "burqa" has become an all-encompassing term to signify an Islamic style of dress where the eyes are the only visible feature.


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