Sarkozy says full veil not welcome in France

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Paris, Jan. 14 (ANI): French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said that full Islamic veil is not welcome in France, as the country values sexual equality.

Sarkozy used his new year's speech to express his desire for a parliamentary move against face-covering veils.

"The full veil is not welcome in France because it runs contrary to our values and contrary to the idea we have of a woman's dignity," The Guardian quoted Sarkozy, as saying.

Only about 2,000 women in France wear the full veil, but Sarkozy has been accused of unleashing a storm of hostile sentiment towards France's six million Muslims.

And, to dampen down accusations of stoking anti-Muslim feeling, Sarkozy said any law should avoid stigmatising any sections of society.

"Let us undertake not to give opponents of democracy, dignity and sexual equality the chance for a victory which would put our society in a very difficult situation," he said, adding it was "essential that no one felt stigmatised".

In a rebuke to figures in his rightwing UMP party who are pushing for a total ban on the burka or niqab in public in the near future, he said lawmakers should wait for the results of a six-month parliamentary inquiry before acting further.

"As president I believe it would be wise to wait for its consultations and reflections to come to fruition before deciding definitively," said Sarkozy.

The parliamentary head of his party, Jean-François Copé, has come uo with a controversial bill that would fine anyone found covering their face in public 750 Euros. (ANI)

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