France Burqa Ban Begins: Two Arrested, Protests Outside Notre Dame Cathedral

Only an estimated 2000 women don the burqa or the niqab in France, yet today the ban of all such religious garb went into effect. Those violating the law face fines of 150 Euros, and are forced to attend 're-education classes'; anyone found to have forced another person to wear the niqab "through threats, violence, constraint, abuse of authority or power for reason of their gender" faces a far steeper punishment of 30,000 Euros and a year in jail.

Widely viewed as a xenophobic move and another notch in anti-Muslim sentiment, protests against the ban sparked up, including one demonstration outside Notre Dame Cathedral, symbolizing that religious freedom in France is selective. Two women were arrested from that protest for refusing to disperse.

Kenza Drider, a Muslim from Avignon, has been the face of the opposition to the burqa ban. At the protest, she said, "I will, under no circumstances, stop wearing my veil," according to NYDN. "If I am warned verbally and must appear before the local prosecutor ... I will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights."

Read more here, and watch a news segment below:


AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at April 11, 2011, 4:00am

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