President Nicolas Sarkozy has used a major policy speech to declare the burqa was “not welcome” in France and should be banned
Peter Allen in Paris | Telegraph.com | 22 June 2009
In comments which will reignite the debate about religious clothing in the country, he said the full-body garment was “not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience”.
Mr Sarkozy used the first presidential address to a joint session of France’s two houses of parliament in 136 years to declare his support for a ban, even before hearing from a parliamentary commission set up to study the issue.
“We cannot accept to have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of identity,” Mr Sarkozy told the special session in Versailles.
“That is not the idea that the French republic has of women’s dignity.
“The burqa is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience. It will not be welcome on the territory of the French republic,” the French president said.
A group of 58 MPs from the Left and Right has called on Parliament to take action against women adopting what they called oppressive head-to-toe Islamic dress that “breaches individual freedoms”.