The words Burqa, Niqad, Hijad, and Chador may soon be extinct in the French society as France’s top constitutional authorities decided Thursday that the law banning the wearing of any Islamic face or body covering garment in public places is legitimate and legal.
The thumbs up from the upper echeleon means that the ban is most likely to go into effect.
Both houses of the French legislature showed in favor for the ban when the huge margins were revealed. It is to take effect in this coming spring season.
The ban imposes a 150 euros ($190) fine and/or a mandatory citizenship course to nyone caught not following the law and wearing the burqa, Niqab, Hijab, or Chador.
A spokesperson from the French Government told CNN that the need for the law stems from several reasons. “Forcing a woman to wear a niqab or a burqa will be punishable by a year in prison or a 15,000-euro ($19,000) fine because it is a new type of enslavement. And the French republic cannot accept it on its soil.” They have also cited security reasons.
The French Constitutional Council defended the law claiming that everything under it conforms to the Constitution. The law does not prevent the free exercise of religion and that the punishments impose are reasonable. the free exercise of religion in a place of worship, finding therefore that “the law conforms to the Constitution.”
Last year, a panel of French lawmakers suggested a similar ban. The council unanimously passed a non-binding resolution, stating that the practice infringes the laws of the nation. A spokesperson for the government said “Given the damage it produces on those rules which allow the life in community, ensure the dignity of the person and equality between sexes, this practice, even if it is voluntary, cannot be tolerated in any public place.”
According to a survey the French people is in favor of the ban with a four to one margin. Another survey conducted by a Washington-based think thank revealed some 82 percent of people polled approved of a ban, while 17 percent does not agree to it. The Germans, British, and Spanish shares the same sentiments.
But the idea seemed not to sit well with Amnesty International. The agency has repeatedly urged the French government not to impose the ban, claiming that it is a violation of human rights.
The ban includes, but not limited to, the use of burqa, full -body outer garment with a mesh over the face,niqab, a full face veil with openings on the eye area, hijab, a big scarf that covers the hair and neck but not the face, and chador, a large veil which covers the body and not the face.
The age old tradition of wearing the Burqa, Niqab, Hijab, and Chador is connected to the concept of Namus, a gender specific ethical category of relation. Namus is a virtue that Islamic Women looks up to. Islamic women cover themselves up to practice the concept of Namus, or translated as “honor”.
France currently has about 3.5 million or 6 percent Muslims living in the country.