The MP, Philip Hollobone, says “God gave us faces to be expressive. It is not just the words we utter but whether we are smiling, sad, angry or frustrated. You don’t get any of that if your face is covered.”
The French government decided Wednesday to impose a $185 fine on women who wear a full-face Islamic veil in public, pushing ahead with a controversial ban despite signs of tension between France’s Muslims and the Christian-tradition majority.
President Nicolas Sarkozy said his government was forwarding the legislation to parliament because it had a “moral responsibility” to uphold traditional European values in the face of an increasingly visible Muslim population, estimated at more than 5 million, the largest in Western Europe.
The French parliament unanimously approved a resolution that would declare the full facial veil known as a burqa as an affront to French values, paving the way for a full-fledged ban on the garment worn by a small minority of French Muslim women.
If the bill becomes law, France would be the second country in Europe after Belgium to prohibit the wearing of the full veil in public.
The video showed veiled women, some armed with guns, armed men and children carrying weapons and ammunition.
Italian police fined a woman $665 for wearing an Islamic face veil, the first punishment of its kind in Italy but the latest in a wave of sanctions against the niqab in Europe.
Representatives of the Islamic community in Italy warned that the issue was a delicate one, but agreed that police in Novara were simply following the rules and said the issue was not a religious one.
A Muslim butcher who could be stripped of his French passport over allegations of polygamy hit back on Monday, insisting that he had not broken the law.
Lies Hebbadj, an Algerian-born 35-year-old, has been at the centre of a political storm since last week when his wife complained that she had been fined for driving while wearing her “niqab” full-face veil.
The case of a French Muslim woman fined for driving while wearing a full-face veil — a garment the government wants to ban in public — raised a furore Friday over human rights and led a minister to challenge her husband’s status in France.
The Nantes incident took on another political dimension when France’s interior minister, Brice Hortefeux, wrote to ask his colleague Eric Besson in immigration to look into the woman’s husband, who he alleged may belong to a radical group and may be a polygamist with four wives and 12 children.
Anxieties that visible signs of Islam erode national identity are combining with complaints that immigrants are stealing jobs amid the worst economic slump in decades to deepen a sense of unease in many European countries, small and large alike, over the role of Muslims in society.
Lawmakers are considering a ban in all public places on niqabs, veils that cover the face, as well as burqas, which cover the face and everything else from head to toe.
In a reflection of growing anxiety in Europe over the use of Islamic symbols, a committee of Belgian lawmakers voted Wednesday to ban the wearing of burqas in public, paving the way for the first clampdown of its kind on the Continent.
The proposal, which will be put to the full Parliament after the Easter break, highlights the political sensitivity of Islamic dress for European politicians grappling with the challenges of integrating its expanding Muslim population.