France to outlaw full Muslim veil


France is to ban the full Muslim veil to protect the dignity of women, President Nicolas Sarkozy announced yesterday. His decision followed months of wavering by politicians of Left and Right and ended a long silence by Mr Sarkozy on what to do about the niqab, burka and other face-covering garments. “The full veil is contrary to the dignity of women,” Mr Sarkozy said. “The response is to ban it. The government will table a draft law prohibiting it.” He gave no details but his announcement means he has come down on the side of members of parliament in his own camp and the opposition who advocate a ban on the full veil on French territory. An all-party parliamentary committee recommended lesser measures last month that would require women to expose their faces on public transport and on state-owned premises such as post offices, universities and hospitals.