A French parliamentary panel has called for a ban on Muslim women
wearing the full Islamic veil in public institutions, describing the
dress as an "unacceptable" challenge to French values.
its report, released on Tuesday, the panel also recommended that
authorities refuse residence cards and citizenship to anyone with
visible signs of a "radical religious practice".
wearing of the full veil is a challenge to our republic. This is
unacceptable. We must condemn this excess," it said.
The commission stopped short of a full ban on the veils, which it
deemed unconstitutional, but said they should be banned from
schools, hospitals and public transport.
has called on parliament to adopt a formal resolution stating the
all-encompassing veil is "contrary to the values of the republic".
But the opposition Socialists, who condemn the full veil, have said
they would not endorse the final report, saying it would amount to
an inconsistent "ad hoc law".
The report is likely to raise concerns that its recommendations will
unfairly stigmatise France's Muslim population, estimated at about
those, only about several thousand are thought to wear the niqab,
which covers all of the face except the eyes.
Tuesday's report is the culmination of a six-month inquiry into the
issue, after Nicolas Sarkozy, France's president, said full-body
veils were "not welcome" in the country.
The veil is widely viewed in France as a gateway to extremism, an
insult to gender equality and an offense to France's secular
2004 French law bans Muslim headscarves from primary and secondary
Andre Gerin, chair of the parliamentary commission and a communist
politician said the "wearing of the full veil is the tip of the
"There are scandalous practices hidden behind this veil," he said.
is not yet clear whether the government, or parliament, will take up
any or all of the report's recommendations.
Any action is not expected to come before March regional elections.