France House of Parliament Votes to Ban Burqa

July 16, 2010

From The New York Times,
PARIS — France’s lower house of Parliament voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to approve a ban on the wearing of veils that cover the face in public places. The draft bill, only seven articles, passed by 335 votes to 1 in the National Assembly, with mostly abstentions from the main opposition Socialist Party, which was divided over how to respond to the popular bill. The Senate will vote on the bill in September, when it is expected to become law. Judicial challenges are expected both in France, where the Council of State will examine its constitutionality, and at the European Court of Human Rights. The draft bill says that “no one can, in the public space, wear clothing intended to hide the face.” The bill also defines “public space” broadly, including streets, markets and private businesses, as well as government buildings and public transportation.
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