France's National Assembly Passes Burqa Ban

France’s Najat speaking at a press conference in Montreuil, east of Paris. Insisting that she is a feminist, Najat says she will go to prison over the burqa ban.Beyond the Veil| In a massive move against wearing burqas in France, the lower hosue of parliament just overwhelmingly approved a ban on Islamic veils. 336 votes were cast for the bill in the National Asembly and just one against it. Most members of the Socialist Party refused to participate in the vote, although they support it.

The move to ban face-covering veils will go to the French Senate in September, where it’s expected to pass overwhelmingly. Some legal scholars believe the law could be declared unconstitutional.

France has Europe’s largest Muslim population, estimated to be about 5 million or almost 10% of the total population. Head scarves are common in France and not under discussion in the ban. The move to ban burqas underscores France’s determination to insist that integration, not separation, is the road forward for immigrants.

The full veil “is the banner of a sectarian ideology” and threatens “human dignity,” the head of French women’s rights group Ni Putes Ni Soumises, Sihem Habchi, wrote in an essay in Tuesday’s Liberation daily. via AP