French President Nicholas Sarkozy on Wednesday threw his weight behind moves to ban the full Islamic veil in France, calling for an "unambiguous" parliamentary resolution against an item of clothing he said was "not welcome" in a country which valued sexual equality.
The president, who had shied away from speaking on the issue recently, used his new year's speech to express his desire for a move against face-covering veils.
But, perhaps to dampen down accusations of stoking anti-Muslim feeling, Sarkozy said any law should avoid stigmatising any sections of society.
In a rebuke to figures in his rightwing UMP party who are pushing for a total ban on the burka or niqab in public in the near future, he said lawmakers should wait for the results of a six-month parliamentary inquiry before acting further.
Once the panel's recommendations were known, Sarkozy said, parliament should pass a non-binding but "unambiguous" resolution making clear the full veil's incompatibility with French values.
Sarkozy He did not go into detail about what kind of legislation might eventually be passed, insisting that parliament give full attention to tThe committee he set up last summer to investigate the issue, headed by communist MP André Gerin, is expected to advocate a more moderate ban on the full veil, possibly in certain realms of the state such as post offices and town halls. It will publish its results later this month, weeks before France's regional elections.
"As president I believe it would be wise to wait for its consultations and reflections to come to fruition before deciding definitively," said Sarkozy.To read full London Guardian story — Go Here Now.
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