A heated debate over a possible ban on face-covering Islamic veils in public is underway in the French Parliament.
President Nicolas Sarkozy's government wants a ban in place to protect oppressed women and promote equality between the sexes. Advocates of the burqa ban say they want to help preserve French culture and provide better public security.
Some devout Muslims argue the Islamic Koran requires women to wear veils. Followers want the right to freely practice their religious beliefs in a secular society.
Belgium is also considering a veil ban. And last month, the Spanish government said it favored barring burqas in government buildings.