The European Court of Human Rights has just upheld a ban by France on wearing the Muslim full-face veil - the niqab. A case was brought by a 24-year-old French woman, who argued that the ban on wearing the veil in public violated her freedom of religion and expression.
The court ruled that the ban "was not expressly based on the religious connotation of the clothing in question but solely on the fact that it concealed the face". The Strasbourg judges' decision is final - there is no appeal against it. From BBC Europe (more here, link).
As 2014 just began, let's emphasize the great value of France.fr, officially launched in 2010.
As the French (and Canadian) debate is still quite polarized by "laïcité" (laicity) and the challenge of public regulation of religion, let's have a wider look and remind (among others) the works of Jean-Paul Willaime (link to his page).
A worldwide leading sociologist of religion, Director of studies at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE, Religious Studies section) and former president of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion (ISSR), visiting professor at the College of Europe, Dr Jean-Paul Willaime is always worth being read.
He has authored many articles in English, including "European Integration, Laïcité and Religion" (link).
Here is the link: BBC page on French Laïcité (secularism).
This page rightly emphasizes the importance of French History:
In a very cruel, unfair and misleading editorial, the New York Times criticized the French will to ban the Burqa in the streets (one should say the Niqab: full radical muslim face-covering veil). This editorial was published on January 26, 2010.
The title was: "The Taliban would applaud" (sic).
Our French President has recently drawn criticism after one of his speeches during his visit to the Vatican.
In front of the highest Roman Catholic Clergy, he emphasized the importance of the French "christian roots" (mainly Catholic), while he also pleaded for a "positive" version of "laïcité" (laicity, sometimes translated by secularism).