French minister denounces burqa

Paris, France - A Muslim member of the French government has backed a court's decision to deny citizenship to a Moroccan woman who wears the burqa.

Urban Affairs Minister Fadela Amara said she hoped last month's ruling would "dissuade certain fanatics from imposing the burqa on their wives".

She told the newspaper, Le Parisien, the head-to-toe garment was a "prison".

The Moroccan woman, Faiza M, was told that her practice of "radical" Islam was not compatible with French values.

The 32-year-old, who has lived in France since 2000 with her husband - a French national - and their three French-born children, said she had never challenged the country's fundamental values.

Social services reports said the burqa-wearing Faiza M lived in "total submission to her male relatives".


Ms Amara, who is a French-born Muslim of Algerian parentage, said she supported the ruling in June by France's highest administrative court, the Conseil d'Etat.

"The burqa is a prison, it's a straitjacket," she told Le Parisien.

"It is not a religious insignia but the insignia of a totalitarian political project that advocates inequality between the sexes and which is totally devoid of democracy."

The minister said she hoped the court's ruling might in future "dissuade certain fanatics from imposing the burqa on their wives".

Ms Amara, who is also a prominent women's rights campaigner, said she made no distinction between the veil and the burqa, describing both as symbols of oppression for women.

"It's just a question of centimetres of fabric," she added.