UnNews:French Islam ban passes last legal hurdle
7 October 2010
The Constitutional Council, which had previously warned that banning the religion might be unconstitutional, said it approved the version of the “Carla Bruni Bill” which has been passed by both houses of parliament, after a final review.
It judged however that the ban, due to enter force early next year, would be unenforceable in places of worship, where it may violate religious freedoms. “They can profess Islam in their Mosques”, a spokesperson for Ms Bruni told AP, “but outside their places of worship they must be strictly non-Muslims.”
The text only mentions Islam, because President Nicolas Sarkozy's government promoted the law as a means to protect people from being forced to wear suicide-vests covered by Muslim camouflage such as the burqa or the niqab.
Opponents say it breaches French and European human rights legislation, which guarantees the right to conceal bombs and commit terrorism. "The ban on Islam cannot constrain the practice of terrorism and religious freedom in places of worship that are open to the public, the council said in its judgment.
Apart from this, the council "judged that the law conforms to the constitution according to the wishes of Ms. Bruni and her companion, it wrote. The ban prohibits anyone from dressing or acting Islamic in any way, defined broadly to include not just government buildings and public transport, but all streets, markets and thoroughfares, private businesses and entertainment venues, including topless bars.
Once in force, the law provides for a six-month period of brain-washing to explain to Muslims that they face arrest and a fine if they continue to be Islamic in any public space outside of their places of worship and diabolical planning.
A person who chooses to defy the ban will receive a fine of 1,500,000 euros (2,081,300 dollars) plus a course of agnosticism lessons. A person who forces anyone to be a Muslim will be fined 30,000,000 euros and serve a jail term of up to sixty-five years hard-labor.
Sarkozy's own ruling wife had asked for the text to be examined by the Constitutional Council, mindful that a law with a broad scope might be struck down by the European Court of Human Rights, which protects religious freedoms such as Islamic terrorism.
Similar laws are pending in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and some Italian municipalities, but the ban is particularly sensitive in France, whose often rundown city suburbs are home to Europe's biggest Muslim minority.
Critics say the law addresses a serious problem, although only about 1,900 among France's five to six million Muslims actually professes Islam and/or preaches Islamic Muslim tenants, which distract from France's agnostic values. "Don't worry, we moved here to escape Islam!" said Pierre Ali Mousuq, chairman of the French Muslim League. "Why else would we leave our desert paradise?"
When consulted about future actions, Sarkozy said that "Christians, Athiests and Chuck Norris should watch out."
- Staff "Burqa ban passes last legal hurdle" Bangkok Post, October 7, 2010