Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A PRACTISING Muslim woman has lost her legal challenge over the French burka ban.

The 24-year-old, born in France, had claimed the controversial law violated her 
civil liberties. 

But the European Court of Human Rights found her right to privacy and family had not been breached. Judges also ruled that her freedom of thought, conscience and religion was still protected – even though she is no longer allowed to wear the full-face veil in public.

The complainant, known as Burka ban ‘is not a civil liberties violation’S.A.S., believed she had been 
discriminated against on the grounds of sex, religion and ethnicity.

After the ruling, Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: ‘How do you liberate women by criminalising their clothing? If you disapprove of the wearer’s choices, how does banishing her from public engagement promote liberal attitudes?

‘Banning the veil has nothing to do with gender equality and everything to do with rising racism in Western Europe.’
The case has important implications for Britain. The burka ban was enforced in France from 2011, prohibiting concealment of the face in public. S.A.S. told the court in Strasbourg that she wore the burka, which covers the whole body, and also the niqab full-face veil.

Neither her husband nor any other member of her family had put pressure on her to dress in the manner she had chosen – and S.A.S. insisted that her aim wasn’t to annoy others, but 
to feel at inner peace.

But the European Court noted that the French legislature was simply ‘to identify individuals’ – 
reducing the danger to people and property.
It accepted that promoting respect for ‘living together’ wasa legitimate reason for imposing the ban – and that concealing the face could undermine the notion of ‘respect for the minimum requirements of society’.
The overall decision was by a majority. Two judges gave a dissenting opinion.

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