French Panel Recommends Limits on Face Veil

Daily News Article - January 26, 2010

Questions

1. What recommendation has a French parliamentary panel made regarding the veils some Muslim women wear that cover the face? Be specific.

2. What additional recommendation had the panel made regarding residence cards and citizenship?

3. What does the panel not recommend regarding the wearing of such garments?

4. What would be the result of a woman refusing to remove her veil under the new ban?

5. For what reasons is the veil viewed negatively in France?

6. The panel is not proposing a ban on the burqa (a loose fitting body covering) or the headscarf, only the veil that covers the face. Under "Background" below, watch the video: two Muslim women who want to wear the full covering, and in fact say they will break the law rather than go against their religion, are interviewed. No Muslim women who oppose the veil were interviewed. No French citizens (the majority of whom oppose the wearing of the veil in public) were interviewed. A Muslim cleric is shown who says that the Koran does not call for the wearing of any covering. The narrator says that other Muslim clerics are angry that the French government wants to ban the veil, but these men are not shown, nor do we hear their explanation, or refutation of the statement that the Koran does not call for women being covered.
Then read the exerpt from Jean Francois Cope, a French parliamentarian who is a member of the panel making the recommendation on veils.
a) What do you think of Mr. Cope's explanation?
b) What are some of the dangers associated with people being permitted to cover all but their eyes?
c) This issue might come up eventually on a larger scale in the U.S. How do you think that lawmakers should deal with it?

NOTE: A woman's right to wear a veil has already come up in 2002 in Florida. Read the articles at clickorlando.com/news/1214015/detail.html and firstamendmentcenter.org/news.aspx?id=11569.