Farzana Hassan [Member, Muslim Canadian Congress]: "The French parliament is currently debating the legality of a proposed ban on the burka, the full veil worn by some conservative Muslim women. In a statement endorsing the recommendations of the parliament, President Sarkozy mentioned equality and liberty as the reasons for the proposed legislation. Not surprisingly, this controversial move has sparked an array of opinions, both supporting and opposing the proposed ban, which will be confined for now to public buildings. Liberals argue such a ban constitutes an infringement on individual rights and religious freedoms guaranteed in the French constitution. Others maintain such a ban would help Muslim women facing coercion in the matter.
Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.Legislation against the burka, therefore, does not pose a conflict with this human rights document. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is also clear on the matter as follows:
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.