France's burqa ban: 5 ways Europe is targeting Islam

France issued its first ticket to a woman wearing an Islamic veil on Monday, the day a national ban on face coverings in public took effect. The new law is among a number of legal and political moves across Europe targeting Islam amid a growing debate over multiculturalism. Here are five recent actions taken regarding Islam in the public sphere.

France's burqa ban

Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters
A woman who identified herself as Nayet, wearing a burqa, is seen after her release from a police station in Paris April 11. France's ban on full face veils, a first in Europe, went into force Monday, exposing anyone who wears the Muslim niqab or burqa in public to fines of $216 and lessons in French citizenship.

The French parliament in October passed the so-called burqa ban after months of heated debate. On April 11, after a six-month grace period expired, the country began enforcing the law. The law's supporters say the veil oppresses Muslim women, violates the French value of gender equality, poses security concerns as it allows people to conceal weapons or hide their identity, and undermines social cohesion. The law's opponents say it promotes intolerance and stigmatizes Muslims, although the legislation does not specifically mention the various types of Islamic face veils.

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