France's veil ban: Do you agree with the ban on Islamic veils in France?
Woman was arrested during protest against the Islamic veil ban in France. (Michael Euler/Associated Press)
By CBC News
A ban on Islamic face veils has gone into effect in France, making it the first country in the world to impose such a ban.
Several women appeared veiled in front of Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral in defiance of the ban, which began Monday. Two were detained for taking part in an unauthorized protest.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has long supported a ban, claiming veils imprison women and contradict the secular nation's values of dignity and equality. The regulation received wide public support when it was approved by parliament last year.
Muslims see the ban as a stigma against the country's second most popular religion. France has the largest Muslim population in western Europe, with an estimated five million followers. A very small minority -- 2,000 women at most -- wear the veil.
The ban affects women who wear the niqab, which is a headscarf that covers the hair and most of the face, leaving only the eyes exposed. It also condemns the burka, a head-to-toe covering that has a mesh screen over the eyes.
People who force women to don a veil are subject to up to a year in prison and a $41,000 fine, and possibly twice that if the veiled person is a minor.
Do you agree with France's ban on the niqab and burka in public spaces? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below.
(Survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)
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