France bans the Burka
The controversial new French law banning women from wearing a veil in public has come into force. It is largely seen as a ban on the Muslim burca although it also prohibits the use of balaclavas and other devices for concealing identities. I wonder are hoodies illegal? Probably not. Two women protesting the law by wearing a veil outside Notre Dame cathedral were arrested this morning, soon after the law came into effect. Police officers have expressed concerns about enforcing the law. Riots have previously broken out in response to alleged harassment of Muslims, so it is unlikely that police will charge into Venissieux or Trappes in order to enforce the ban. They will also need to tread carefully when wealthy Saudis are shopping on the Champs Elysees. The French public have been warned not to take the law into their own hands. There are to be no de-veilings. The police will take any offenders to a police station, where they can be identified and given a small fine. Men who force their women to wear such veils face up to a year in prison and substantial fines. Belgium was the first country to introduce a total ban last year and Holland, Spain and Switzerland may follow suit.