Nytt

Den franske nasjonalforsamlingen har med overveldende flertall stemt for et forbud mot full ansiktstildekking, dvs. burka og niqab. Kun 1 deputert stemte mot forbudet, og hele 335 for.

France’s lower house of parliament has overwhelmingly approved a bill that would ban wearing the Islamic full veil in public.

There were 335 votes for the bill and only one against in the 557-seat National Assembly.

It must now be ratified by the Senate in September to become law.

The ban has strong public support but critics point out that only a tiny minority of French Muslims wear the full veil.

Many of the opposition Socialists, who originally wanted the ban limited only to public buildings, abstained from voting after coming under pressure from feminist supporters of the bill.

President Nicolas Sarkozy has backed the ban as part of a wider debate on French identity but critics say the government is pandering to far-right voters.

Det er tankevekkende at sosialistpartiet måtte oppgi sin motstand etter press fra feminister, og heller avstå. Sosialistene ville bare ha et tildekkingsforbud i offentlige bygninger, mens lovforslaget sier «offentlighet».

Sekularitet

Frankrike er staute forsvarere av sekularitet og opplever tildekking som et angrep på denne. Det er sjelden å høre politikere bruke så store ord som justisministeren gjorde.

«Democracy thrives when it is open-faced,» Ms Michele Alliot-Marie told the National Assembly when she presented the bill last week.

She stressed the bill, which makes no reference to Islam or veils, was not aimed at «stigmatising or singling out a religion».
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After the vote, Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said it was a victory for democracy and for French values.

«Values of freedom against all the oppressions which try to humiliate individuals; values of equality between men and women, against those who push for inequality and injustice.»

The vote is being closely watched in other countries, the BBC’s Christian Fraser reports from the French capital Paris.

Spain and Belgium are debating similar legislation, and with such large-scale immigration in the past 20 or 30 years, identity has become a popular theme across Europe, our correspondent says.

Kommunistene er med

Interessant nok var kommunistiske deputerte blant de hardeste forkjemperne for et forbud, mens sosialistene var tilbøyelig til å være mot.

Andre Gerin of the Communist opposition compared the veil to «a walking coffin, a muzzle».
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Jean Glavany, a Socialist MP, said he opposed the ban on the grounds that it was «nothing more than the fear of those who are different, who come from abroad, who aren’t like us, who don’t share our values».

Muslimene

Det gjøres et nummer av at bare ca. 2.000 kvinner bærer niqab eller bruka av Frankrikes 5 millioner muslimer. Men likevel er det mange som føler at et forbud er et angrep på alle muslimer. Det kan øke polariseringen.

Mohammed Moussaoui, the head of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, a government advisory body, has supported taking steps to discourage women from wearing the full veil but has said a legal ban would stigmatise a vulnerable group.
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In another development, a French businessman, Rachid Nekkaz, said he would set up a 1m-euro fund to help women pay fines imposed under the new law.

A ban in the street would violate constitutional principles, he argued.

Rettslig-politisk strid

Det er noen juridiske hindre før en lov kan tre i kraft. Det høyeste administrative organ, Forfatningsrådet, skal avgjøre om loven er lovstridig. Hvis den går gjennom der kan motstanderne aktivere Menneskerettsdomstolen i Strasbourg.

Men skulle loven bli stanset ved slike metoder betyr det ikke at saken er lagt død. Mye tyder på at europeere har sett seg noen symbolsaker med enorm politisk sprengkraft: kors i Italia, minareter i Sveits, og burka/niqab i Frankrike.

Skulle de bli overkjørt kan det bare øke engasjementet.

French MPs vote to ban Islamic full veil in public