Men to face £13,000 fine and jail for forcing women to wear burkas if new French law is passed
By Daily Mail Reporter - 2nd May 2010
Men could be fined £13,000 and jailed for a year for forcing their wives to wear a burka under tough proposed laws in France, leaked documents reveal.
Ministers hope to vote on a total ban on anyone hiding their face in public in July, it is claimed.
The move comes after Belgium became the first country in Europe to ban the burka and other full Islamic face veils last week.
There is also widespread support for a ban on burkas and niqabs in the Netherlands.
The French law would create a new offence of 'incitement to cover the face for reasons of gender', the newspaper Le Figaro reported.
According to the paper, the legislation would state: 'No-one may wear in public places clothes that are aimed at hiding the face.'
While men will incur steep fines and prison sentences for forcing their wives to hide their face, women would receive a much smaller fine of around £130 because they are 'often victims who are not given any choice', one of the proposed law's authors said.
Women would not be 'unveiled' in the street but instead taken to a police station to be formally identified, the draft legislation states.
The law would also apply to Muslim tourists - including the thousands of wealthy Middle Eastern visitors to Paris every year.
France's tough stance against face veils comes after a woman was pulled over and fined in April for wearing a burka while driving.
And last year a Muslim woman was banned from wearing a 'burkini' swimming costume at a public swimming pool in Paris for hygiene reasons.
President Nicolas Sarkozy has already branded the burka a 'sign of debasement', and immigration minister Eric Besson has called it 'a walking coffin'.