Eric Besson, Minister of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Mutually-Supportive Development, welcomes Parliament’s definitive adoption of the bill prohibiting the wearing of the full-face veil in public places in a final Senate vote on Tuesday, 13 September 2010.
The ban will come into force in spring 2011, after six months of education and mediation (1).
This is an important step forward. As President Sarkozy has reiterated, “the full-face veil isn’t welcome in the territory of the Republic”. The passing of this bill, presented by Michèle Alliot-Marie, Keeper of the Seals, Minister of Justice and Freedoms, has in no way contributed to any stigmatizing of Islam. All the representatives of the Muslim religion have confirmed it: the full-face veil isn’t a requirement of Islam. It reflects a separation within French society, which our Republic cannot tolerate.
Prohibiting the full-face veil is not stigmatizing Islam. On the contrary, it gives us every opportunity to build a perfectly integrated French Islam respecting our republican values. Our public areas must be places promoting social exchange, with everyone able to see each other’s faces, respecting equality between men and women in general, and women’s dignity in particular. (…)./.
(1) This involves explaining to women that if they wear a full face-veil in public they will face arrest and a fine and mediation to ensure that the measure is understood and accepted by the whole Muslim community in France.