France Responds to Muslim Challenge to Reconsider Ban on Burqas

Huffington Post reports that French legislators continue to wrestle with their proposed burqa ban.

French president Sarkozy’s statements have raised the ire of Muslim groups abroad and prompted threats against France from an Algerian al-Qaida affiliate.

On Wednesday, the governing conservative party UMP head, Jean-Francois Cope, was quoted as suggesting that any ban should not be “hasty.”

Instead, he suggested a two-stage effort, “a ban preceded by six months to a year of dialogue, explanation and warnings.”

Human Rights Watch has said a ban would be counterproductive, and a top British Muslim group said Sarkozy’s comments were patronizing and offensive. Lebanon’s most influential Shiite cleric called on the French leader to reconsider his statement.