Sarkozy reiterates determination to ban burqa ban in France

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Paris, Nov.13 (ANI): French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said that he is determined to ban the use of the burqa, the head-to-toe veil worn by some Muslim women, in secular France.

"France is a country where there is no place for the burqa, where there is no place for the subservience of women," The Telegraph quoted him, as saying in a speech on French national identity.

France, home to Europe's biggest Muslim minority, has set up a special panel of 32 lawmakers to consider whether a law should be enacted to bar Muslim women from wearing the full veil.

The country has had a long-running debate on how far it is willing to go to accommodate Islam without undermining the tradition of separating church and state, enshrined in a flagship 1905 law.

In 2004, it passed a law banning headscarves or any other "conspicuous" religious symbols in state schools to defend secularism.

In June, Sarkozy said the burqa was not a symbol of religious faith but a sign of women's "subservience" and declared that the full veil was "not welcome" in France.

His latest missive on the issue was aired in the Alpine town of La Chapelle en Vercors on Thursday.

Public meetings are due to take place in some 450 government offices around the country, involving campaigners, students, parents and teachers, unions, business leaders and French and European lawmakers.

The debate will end with a conference early next year on the twin questions of "what it means to be French today" and "what immigration contributes to our national identity." (ANI)

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