Mark Wadsworth

This is a spare 'blog in case my main 'blog at isn't working

Burka Ban Tomfoolery

It had to happen:

An exiled Muslim couple is using a British legal team to fight the burka ban in France. They claim the ruling breaches their human rights and restricts their free movement across countries in the European Union.

The pair, who wish to remain anonymous, now live in the West Midlands with their two children, claiming the new law forced them out of their home country. They are seeking damages and a ruling that the ban on Islamic women covering their faces in public is ‘unnecessary, disproportionate and unlawful’.

The husband, who is a French national, and his wife are being represented by Robina Shah from the Immigration Advisory Service. She has lodged their application with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

‘The case clearly is of importance to my clients,’ said Ms Shah. ‘As a result of the ban they have had to leave their country of nationality, as the ban restricts their freedom of choice, and that of their daughters.’

Court papers state the principal applicant is the husband who ‘expects and instructs’ his wife to wear the burka, a full-body covering that includes a mesh over the face, as well as the niqab, a face veil that only leaves an opening for the eyes.

The wife, the second applicant in the case, ‘respects and follows’ her husband’s instructions ‘out of her own free will’, the Strasbourg court is being told. She is seeking £10,000 in damages from the French government for ‘injury to feelings’ caused by the alleged breach of her human rights. The couple agreed there were times when it would be unacceptable to wear a burka – such as during an airport security check or when going to the bank.

President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ban on face veils came into force in April. Anyone wearing the niqab or burka in public could now face a fine of £130 or lessons in French citizenship.

I’ve cut and pasted the whole article because there wasn’t a single sentence not dripping with DoubleThink. Everybody can choose the bit they find most repugnant – from the idea that the woman, who is by implication not French, was ‘forced’ out of her home country, all the way to the Hobson’s choice right at the end – would you rather pay a £130 fine or suffer lessons in French citizenship?


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