Magazine
Latest Issue

Why France is banning the veil

Sarkozy's legislation is only the latest move in a centuries-old grapple between the French state and organised religion

By Ruth Harris   July 2010

Picture by FotoRita via flickr

France’s national assembly has voted by 366 to one in favour of a ban on face coverings in public places. The move was widely anticipated, as the government has made no secret of the fact that it is designed to target the Islamic veil. President Sarkozy has described the veil as a “sign of enslavement and debasement” and claims it is the ultimate symbol of Islam’s oppression of women.

Opponents argue the move could contravene the French constitution and might be challenged by the European court of human rights. Recent changes in French…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect