Can be found here, at the Financial Times: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/65cfabe4-d965-11e0-b52f-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1XhVxmAdM

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From France 24:

France will start enforcing a ban next month on full Islamic face veils, officials said on Thursday, meaning any veiled woman can be summoned to a police station and asked to remove her face-covering or pay a fine.

Officials say the law is mainly symbolic and police will not call in every veiled woman they see to avoid stigmatising Muslims.
But a Paris imam said forcing veiled women to present themselves at a police station would be just as uncomfortable.
When France passed the ban on full face veils last year, Muslim leaders voiced concern it could lead to veiled women being unfairly treated by police or singled out for harassment.
“My gut reaction is to say this is all a bit clumsy,” said Moussa Niambele, the imam of a mosque in the north of Paris.

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By Roger Cohen, from the New York Times:

Just when you thought France could sink no further, it discovers improbable new depths to plumb thanks to outgoing coach Raymond Domenech, whose gift for combining the imperious, the inept and the insulting has few equals in sporting history.

No wonder President Nicolas Sarkozy has called crisis ministerial meetings on the French World Cup debacle. The daily Le Monde went further, drawing parallels between this “strange defeat” and another, on the front lines of 1940.

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From France 24:

French police have banned a Facebook street gathering that encouraged invitees to eat pork and drink wine in a predominantly Muslim neighbourhood of Paris, saying the event presented a “serious risk to public order”.

AFP – Paris police on Tuesday banned a controversial “pork sausage and wine” street party planned by extremist groups to combat what they saw as the “Islamisation” of a city neighbourhood.

The event was planned for Friday evening at a time when the district’s streets are usually jammed with Muslims coming out of mosques and just before Algeria were due to play England in the football World Cup.

But police banned the event and any rival gatherings in the Goutte d’Or area of northern Paris’ 18th arrondissement, or district, saying in a statement that it was likely to cause “serious risks to public order.”

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From the Economist:

HOW likely are French parliamentarians to approve the proposed “burqa ban”? Deputies get their first chance to debate the idea in parliament on Tuesday May 11th. As a first step, the National Assembly will examine a resolution, which carries symbolic value, but not legal force. Yet it will be a good test of the political mood. It is likely to be approved with thunderous cross-party support.

French backing for a burqa ban across the political spectrum is sometimes hard to understand. In many multicultural quarters of Europe, the idea is linked to the extreme or nationalist right. In Britain, for instance, the only party proposing a total burqa ban during the recent general-election campaign was the United Kingdom Independence Party, which also wants to pull the country out of the European Union. The far-right British National Party also called for a burqa ban in schools. One Labour minister replied that it was “not British” to tell people what to wear in the street. In a speech in Cairo last year, President Barack Obama argued that Western countries should not be “dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear”.

In France, however, the proposal draws backing from the mainstream left and right. President Nicolas Sarkozy, from the political right, said last year that the burqa, as the French call it (in reality, they mean the niqab, or all-over face-covering veil), was “not welcome” on French soil. Jean-François Copé, the leader of the ruling UMP party in parliament, has been the most active in pushing for a total ban (The Economist interviewed Mr Copé last week). Yet the idea is also backed by politicians of all stripes, including the Communist head of a parliamentary inquiry into a ban, and various leading Socialists.

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From Al-Jazeera English:

Muslims, academics and human rights groups have hit out at a looming public ban in Belgium on the full face veil, following a decision in the country’s parliament to make the wearing of the article of clothing illegal.

The vote on Thursday was almost unanimous with 134 MPs in support of the law and just two abstentions.

“I think they’re trying to wind us up,” Souad Barlabi, a young woman wearing a simple veil, said outside the Grand Mosque in Brussels, the Belgian capital, around the time of Friday prayers.

“We feel under attack,” she said, a day after the politicians voted for the ban on clothes or veils that do not allow the wearer to be fully identified.

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By Lizzy Davies, from the Guardian:

Of France’s estimated five million Muslims, only a tiny minority wears the full veil. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

Nicolas Sarkozy has ordered the French government to prepare legislation paving the way for a total ban on the full Islamic veil.

The move comes despite concerns over the stigmatising effect it could have on western Europe’s largest Muslim population.

Government spokesman Luc Chatel said today that proposals for a full ban on the niqab and burqa would be submitted to parliament in the coming months and could theoretically be made law by summer.

Plans to outlaw the garments, he added, were “in line with the wishes of the head of state”, who has repeatedly made clear his aversion to face-covering veils.

“The ban on the full veil must be total in all public places because women’s dignity cannot be watered down,” said Chatel, keeping to the official line that a ban would be in keeping with republican French values of gender equality and secularism.

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