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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Police Instructed on Veils from French Politics

This is a post from Arthur Goldhammer's blog French Politics.

I find this to be a troubling strand of French Republicanism and "laicite" and raises questions/concerns about how immigrant-receiving societies deal with increasing diversities in religion, population, ideas...

Police Instructed on Veils 

Three weeks in preparation, a circular has gone out to police around the country instructing them how to approach women with veiled faces. The first test of the new law should be ... interesting.  Police may not unveil a woman. If she refuses to unveil herself, she is to "be taken to the station to determine her identity with certainty. If she refuses, the prosecutor intervenes, and other measures will be taken in conformity with common law." It all sounds very antiseptic until one tries to imagine the scene: the woman taken into custody and then subjected to "other measures" to which all common law prisoners are subjected, such as strip searching. For the security of the facility, to be sure: no intention to humiliate anyone or to make an example of where resistance to the "common law" might lead. And the law will be tested, make no mistake: the European Court will be asked to pronounce on this law, about whose compatibility with European law questions have already been raised.

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