The Constitutional Council, asked for a ruling by the Presidents of the National Assembly and Senate, has this afternoon validated the Act prohibiting the wearing of the full-face veil in public places in the territory of the French Republic.
By deeming this Act in conformity with our Constitution, the Constitutional Council testifies that it is in line with republican principles and dismisses all accusations relating to a stigmatization of Islam.
This is an important ruling. As President Sarkozy had reiterated, “the full-face veil isn’t welcome in the territory of the Republic”. The passing of this bill in no way contributes 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 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.
The ban will come into force in spring 2011, after six months of education and mediation (1)./.
(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.