French Lawmakers Propose Ban on Muslim Face Veil

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Lawmakers in France are considering a partial ban on Islamic burqas and face coverings in some public places.

The proposed ban would apply to hospitals, schools and on public transportation. It could become law in the French Republic by the end of the year.

"The all-enveloping veil represents, in an extraordinary way, everything that France instinctively rejects. This is the symbol of the enslavement of women and the banner ... of extremist fundamentalism," said Bernard Accoyer, president of the National Assembly, the lower house, after being presented with the report.

France has the largest Muslim population in western Eupope with an estimated 5 million Muslims, and discrimination in the country has become a major issue.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared last year that "the burqa will not be welcome" in his country.

France is not the only European country to consider a burqa ban. Dutch lawmakers approved similar ban back in 2005.

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