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France imam in favor of burqa ban

[JURIST] Imam Hassen Chalghoumi of Paris gave his support Friday to a proposed law that would ban wearing the burqa [JURIST news archive] or niqab in public. In an interview [text, in French] with Le Parisien, Chalghoumi said that the full veil is not a part of French culture and that a woman should move to a country where it is accepted if she wishes to wear one. While Chalghoumi supports the ban, he criticized conservative lawmaker Jean-Francois Cope [official profile, in French] for introducing legislation [JURIST report] without waiting to hear the results of the commission established by National Assembly [official website, in French], which are expected next week.

Cope's move to introduce legislation last week was in direct opposition to the National Assembly's November decision not to push for specific legislation [JURIST reports] banning the burqa. The commission began its hearings in July after being established [JURIST report] a month earlier to address the issue. The controversy between the Muslim community and the secular French government has gone on for several years. In December 2008, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] unanimously ruled [JURIST report] that there was no human rights violation when a French school expelled two Muslim students for refusing to remove their headscarves. In July of that year, a Muslim woman's citizenship application was denied [JURIST report] because she failed to assimilate to French culture and practiced a type of Islam found incompatible with French values.

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