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Tue 23 Jun 2009 07:42 AM

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Sarkozy says burqa 'not welcome' in France

French president says traditional Mideast attire is 'symbol of subservience'.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said that women wearing the burqa would not be accepted on French territory.

“The problem of the burqa is not a religious problem, it is a problem of the dignity of women. It is a symbol of subservience, of submission," he said in a speech which he himself called “an important moment”.

“The burqa will not be welcome in our French republic," Sarkozy said during his address on Monday before a joint session of the two houses of Parliament in Versailles.

Sarkozy became the first French head of state to address lawmakers in 150 years.

Sarkozy’s comments on the burqa were inspired by a resolution introduced last week, and now signed by 80 lawmakers, calling for the creation of a parliamentary committee of inquiry into the wearing of the burqa on French territory, Gulf Times reported on Tuesday.

A burqa is the most concealing of all Islamic veils as it covers the entire face and body, leaving only a mesh screen to see through.

The speech came as Qatar and France held a session of official talks in Paris, chaired by the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Sarkozy.

The two sides discussed means of promoting and boosting bilateral ties, and reviewed a set of regional and international issues of mutual interest.

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AD-Lion 11 years ago

I come from a conforming Islamic family, and my relatives, including my Mother wears a simple, fashionable veil. I think what Sarkozy had said is a very wise step in clarifying what is Islamic and what is plain traditional, ignorant cultural practices that undermine the values of a woman. The Burka is in now way an Islamic practice...it is a male chauvinistic tool enforced in nomadic, Bedouin, and under-civilized villages to reduce the value, and power of an educated woman. It frustrates and exhausts many educated muslims including myself to tr and explain to non-islamic folks that this openly abusive head to toe cloak is clearly not reflective of a religion that grats more rights to the woman than the man. I surely hope that Sarkozy maints a clear distinction between the simple veil, which most islamic women choose freely, and the en-caging burka that belongs to a freak show.

Rano 11 years ago

it said in French "La France poubelle du monde" which means the trash of the world, they claim to be democracy using the slang of the revolution "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité," I don't believe this is the case. France now tries to oppress the muslim community in France, and increases anger against France. It is not a wise decision from France as it messing with things which will not be able to control, and the events of the 2006 are the good exemple.

Moderate 11 years ago

Its high time someone spoke about this issue. I with many other muslims in the region and even in western countries are against this "style" that started in the late 90s, I do not recall growing up seeing such burkas or blankets covering the entire face. This is more tradtion than deen (religion), and a number of women who show faces (the majority) feel that they need to compete and cover face hands and hide away. This not to mention when you see the way someone eats or drinks wearing the burka... I suggest when the time comes for muslims and the religion is built on the right foundations, properly explained to non-muslims and we fix our way of life, economoy, education and most importantly paying zakat on time, being respectful of others, salat...etc I am sure if you look at some western systems you will see they follow islam more than we do in muslim countries ( freedom of education, shelter, welfare system...etc).

Rano 11 years ago

Since he came on Board, SARKO became the New Islamic Mufti (he gives explanation of relegion etc....). Though I am against of Burqa and I prefer Hijab (viel), I think that Sarko, as I said previously, is messing with the Hornet's Nest.

paul 11 years ago

The UAE has its own rules about what is appropriate and compatible with the local culture. I've lost count of how many times I've read criticism of inappropriate dress here which normally ends with something along the lines of "this is a muslim country, if you don't like it go home". Well folks, France is a western secular country and it is entitled to make its own rules about what is acceptable. If they want to ban burkas in public and headscarves in schools, then it's their country and their choice. If people don't like it, I am sure (as we are often told here) there are plenty of people who will be happy to help them pack their bags and take them to the airport.

FRIEND 11 years ago

Dear Rano, The President of France is just expressing an opinion. You should take it as such, and you should put it in the context of a coutry where the burka is a sign of division, not a sign of Islam. Maybe for you France is the Trash of the World. I respect that opinion since I live in the part of the world where people can say what they think. Maybe you don´t. Sad thing is that when somebody says something you don´t like, then they are oppressing. Maybe you are oppressing yourself... Luis

Tawfik 11 years ago

The issue is not a matter of double standards but one of misconception . Sarkozy says "It is a symbol of subservience, of submission". It is further proof of the lack of understanding and tolerance by a French Leader and generally a lack of education in general. It is obvious that Sarkozy is far from an educated elitist of a person of class, but to use his 5th republic pulpit to preach what is right and wrong about another culture or tradition is simply nuts. I agree that it is their choice and their country, but lets not say they they are a free society, lets call it what it is...racist.

Asma Farid 11 years ago

So do that meaning that I not wear my burqa when go holiday to Paris? Because I liking wearing burqa very very too much, because I am very serious Muslim. But I also loving to go to Paris everytime. Please explaining.

Rano 11 years ago

Dear Luis, I've been living in France and before that in the USA, France is a country built by foreigners (they are the one who built france and behind all the success the country living now) who was behind France's winning the world cup. if they accept them, they should accept them as they are with their relegion and to not try to introduce rules to oblige them to react, compare France with the USA or UK, you can see the difference. As per Sarko, it is well known that he likes the spotlight and to oppress immigrant (AS HE IS ONE OF THEM BUT HE FORGOT HIS ORIGINE)

Joe 11 years ago

Most Muslim men I know and work with use those same words "subservient & submissive" to describe the wearing of burqas. Their wives, mothers and daughters do not wear burqas. The Muslim women I work with laugh at the thought of wearing a burqa. They tell me if their husband told them to wear a burqa they would leave him. Sarkozy is saying the same thing many Muslims say about burqas....are they all wrong???