Font Size

- Aa +

Wed 9 Nov 2011 02:45 PM

Font Size

- Aa +

Air France rules women can wear burqas on flights

Flight crews cannot ask Muslim passengers to uncover their faces during transit, says carrier

Air France rules women can wear burqas on flights
France became the first European country to prohibit the wearing of the full veil in public

Muslims
passengers on Air France flights will not be asked to remove their burqa following
a national ban on full-face veils, according to an internal memo from the
carrier’s legal department.

Muslim
women wearing face veils can be ordered to remove the garment in French
airports but are free to put it back on during the flight, the Daily Mail
newspaper reported on Wednesday.

“Flight
crews on board planes cannot ask a person to uncover their face if they are
hiding it,” the newspaper said, quoting an internal memo to staff from Air
France's legal department.

“The law can only be enforced by police and other public officials on the
ground.”

France
became the first European country to prohibit the wearing of the full veil in
public places when it introduced the ban on April 11. The country’s President
Nicolas Sarkozy last year labelled it “a sign of servitude” and said it was not
welcome in France, which is home to about five million Muslims.

Offenders
are fined €150 ($216) and ordered to attend citizenship classes. Repeat
offenders who refuse to pay up can be sent to prison. Similar laws have since
been passed in Belgium and the Netherlands.

France
also outlawed praying in the street in September, after a lack of prayer space in
big cities forced Muslims
to lay their prayer mats on the streets.

The burqa
ban has prompted several Muslim women to flout the law and wear face veils in
public. A French court in September fined two women, the first time a judge has
imposed punishment under the new law. 

One of
the women said she would appeal to the European Court of Human Rights to
overturn the ban.  “[This] violates European laws. For us the question
isn't the amount of the fine but the principle. We can't accept that women are
sentenced because they are freely expressing their religious beliefs,"
Hind Ahmas told reporters outside the court.

“We are
going to launch the necessary appeals to bring this before the European Court
and obtain the cancellation of this law, which is in any case an illegal law”
she said.

For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Paol 8 years ago

I don't understand why European countries should not be allowed to impose any laws and rules they like. I also don't agree with being fined for drinking water or chewing gum during ramadan in GCC countries but I live here and abide it. Muslims in Europe should respect local customs just like they require non-muslims to respect their culture in their countries.

Minaka 8 years ago

I second that!

We Are The People 8 years ago

As you have read in the article, it is not about the law or customs or whatever reason you think it maybe, it is about business and money, Air France is not about to risk a huge portion of their revenue on their Middle East routs by restricting Muslim women from covering their faces (niqabis), just walk the Chanzilize in Paris, tell me how many Niqapi women do you see, I counted this summer more than 20 in less than 2 hours and all these women where visitors, not a single French cops will dared to say anything to them , we are talking about losing over $3 billion USD in revenues annually from the GCC visitors, this is your Niqabi French law in action.

We Are The People 8 years ago

Some of those women that were full face cover are born and raised European citizens. Again, born and raised in a society that claims it is the foundation of liberty and justice; these women are practicing the same freedom that was guaranteed to all citizens equally. Some women chose not cover and they have the right to do so, some chose to cover and they have the right to do so equally too. Keep in mind, they are citizens of the same country that you belong too, you just can’t pack them and send them back. You are involved in discriminatory selection of who among the Europeans citizens should have their constitutional rights compromised based on just the way they look or based on their religious affiliation, or in simpler words, different than you. Isn’t the individual liberties including the way he/she dresses and their religious affiliation are some of the fundamental rights protected by the same constitution that protect your rights to disagree with them?

SansSense 8 years ago

Islam does not ask for any person to be fined if he/she is drinking or eating during Ramadan in front of Muslims who are fasting. This is something that has been enforced by the rulers of some Muslim countries. Whatever their reasoning might be, all it has done is to put Islam in a bad light, as Non-Muslims reach the conclusion that it is something which is emphasised in Islam.

charles 8 years ago

@we are the people
it is very simple: it is the law of the land.
If you dont like it you pay the consequences whether a fine and/or jail time.
I am sure there are laws in USA that you do not like as well. If you dont follow them, you are breaking the law. If you do follow them, you are a law abiding individual.
It is that simple whether you like it or not.

gordon 8 years ago

"For us the question isn't the amount of the fine but the principle. We can't accept that women are sentenced because they are freely expressing their religious beliefs," Hind Ahmas told reporters outside the court. "

Why do they keep saying this...I am told time and time again that this is a cultural choice...not religious....

Berational 8 years ago

Paol, there is a difference, you see France's ban on wearing the full veil prevents Muslim women who want to fulfill their religious obligation, whereas drinking water or chewing gum in Ramadan in public is not your religious obligation. To be fair, France should come up with a general law defining what is appropriate and inapprporiate dressing, rather than simply singling out the burqa, because singling it out sends the wrong message to a particular community. BTW, do you get fined in UAE for eating in public in Ramadan where many fast food outlets are open in day time when Muslims fast!

walkerny 8 years ago

It is simple, if you enjoy your customs, STAY IN YOUR OWN COUNTRY. Do not come to another country and expect them to CHANGE for YOU.

AB 8 years ago

Yes you do get fined in UAE for eating in public during Ramadan. It's not only eating, if you are found drinking water also you are likely to be fined.