11 April 2011

New French Law

TODAY MARKS THE day that France's controversial law to ban full-veils comes into force. It's making quite a bit noise around France and Europe as you might imagine. A few details about the new law:

The controversial ban on wearing a full face veil in public places comes into force on April 11 in France.

Last week French Interior Minister Claude Gueant signed a circular, sent to all law enforcement agencies, “for instructions on carrying out identity checks and for the issuing of fines”.

According to the document, which was published by right-leaning daily newspaper Le Figaro, police officers do not have the right to forcibly remove a veil. However, women wearing them can be arrested as can any man found to force a woman to wear one.

“Either the person wearing the veil removes it, or else that person is conducted to a police station so that their identity can be verified,” the circular instructs.

In no instance can a woman wearing a niqab be placed under arrest simply for wearing the full veil. But she can be held at a police station for up to four hours, held liable for a 150 euro fine and required to take a citizenship course.

France is the first country in Europe to pass such a law. This, of course, makes right-wingers in the US extremely jealous.

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