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back to article Refusal to unveil scuppers French refusal-to-unveil trial

A burqa-clad woman yesterday rather brilliantly exposed a fatal flaw in France's ban on the traditional Muslim garb when she attended court to face a charge of "covering her face in a public place", and then simply refused to take off her burqa for the hearing. The 31-year-old mum, identified only by her first name Hind, was …

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Paris Hilton

I'm surprised...

I'm surprised that a Paris court could be issuing fines in £'s

I'm very pleased though, but I didn't think the euro was that worthless...

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Anonymous Coward

Worthless euro

2000: 1 GBP = 1.7 EUR

2011: 1 GBP = 1.13 EUR

I wish I had a portfolio full of stocks as worthless as the Euro. Going to the mainland next month, so I'm not in the mood to laugh at the value of the Euro. I could cry at the value of the GBP though.

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Can't they just do them for contempt of court (or contempter de la courter*)?

If they refuse to attend court on the day they're summoned then surely they're in contempt and can be jailed -- then rinse and repeat?

(I'm ambivalent to the issue so this isn't a judgement for or against either side -- that post would be too long)

*I know, I know, Je suis désolé.

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Coat

"Je suis désolé"

tu devrais être!

mon manteau a un traducteur electronique dans le poche

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Probably

It depends how long both sides are prepared to go on with this tomfoolery. There's got to be a better way of avoiding people dressing as yurts in the mistaken belief it's required by their religion without getting into pointlessly confrontational situations.

And no, I do not believe you can drive safely with a bag over your head, even if it does have eyeholes poked in it.

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Joke

Driving in a mask

Batman does

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But they don't know

which of the two attended court and which didn't. Because of the burqa. (Yes, I know it says in the story, but still.)

After the Second World War, French whores were stripped, shaved, and hanged, I think in more or less that order, if that sort of thing is how you're interested in seeing women treated. Given it's the Telegraph I imagine that's the main reason why the story was covered.

I've heard it said too that the burqa isn't a religious garment, but it's pretty difficult to define what is and isn't a religious practice, particularly on someone else's religion. Can you insist that they produce a pastor or teacher to support them in any disputed claim? What qualification would that person have to have, to be an expert witness?

My own conclusion is that religion is best considered as a subset of your cultural and ethnic identity. So you may have the same religion as somebody else but a different dress code and cuisine. Or maybe the other way around, but less often.

And also that people getting excited about burqa wearing, for and against, makes it an issue when it shouldn't be.

And that the French are, collectively, a bunch of bastards - of course.

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food for thought

"I've heard it said too that the burqa isn't a religious garment, but it's pretty difficult to define what is and isn't a religious practice"

Indeed, that's true.

Of course, the state can avoid such dilemmas by minding its OWN BLOODY BUSINESS and not trying to liberate women by telling them which clothes they are and aren't allowed to put on their body.

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Re: religion

Religion can require you to do pretty much whatever you want it to do. Even if they do get an Iman to say that a Burqua isn't required Islam, they would just say that their particular branch of Islam is different and does require a Burqua.

As I understand it, what the Koran does say is that women should dress modestly. So going out in only a 2cm long mini-skirt, a bra and a pair of heels clearly isn't allowed, but exactly where you draw the line is open to interpretation.

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State business

"Of course, the state can avoid such dilemmas by minding its OWN BLOODY BUSINESS and not trying to liberate women by telling them which clothes they are and aren't allowed to put on their body."

Actually, the State is very much minding its own business. Much of the problem stems from the fact that in a country subject to the occasional terrorist attack, there are people going round concealed from head to foot and refusing to let themselves be identified.

Then there's the much less important problem of human rights, with girls in some areas being treated like whores - literally - if they wear ordinary clothing rather than ugly sacks and scarves. Creation of ghettoes, all that stuff.

Lastly, wasn't this the bird whose "husband" turned out to be screwing social security by having 4 wives all drawing maximum single parent allowance?

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OK, I shall step off the fence.

If it is illegal in France to wear something, anything, which covers one's face when entering designated areas this is not anti-muslim but anti-ninja and anti-silly-voiced-IRA-spokesperson* -- if it specifies the thing that some muslim women feel it's their duty to wear, despite it not actually being in the rules set down in the quran that they do, and that some muslim men make "their women" wear then it is anti-muslim, in which case I'm not sure which the greater evil is.

*Does anyone else miss the IRA broadcasts with silly actor voices?

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Headmaster

Uhhh, "contempt" in "contempt of court" is a noun

You are perhaps more sorry than you think...

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Anonymous Coward

Mrs Poche

"la poche", it's female, and coincidentally it's concave, which helps to remember it.

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Technically

IIRC the Koran basically says everyone (not just women) should be modest; and I don't think it's exclusive to clothing either (you should act with modesty) ... so it's really wide open to interpretation.

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Stop

A title is required ...

Contempt of court - 1 month in the slammer.

You may wish to live by your religion dear, but the secular state machinery of France (the country you have, for the moment, chosen to live in) requires that religion is left behind when you enter the courtroom and as such, you are found in contempt of court.

Simples n'est pas - prochain.

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FAIL

Religion?

This isn't a question of religion: it's a question of how far a state dictates what someone should, or shouldn't wear, and how much choice they can exercise in their own choice of dress. How they come to make those choices isn't the issue.

Or maybe it's really a question of how cleverly modern french racism has managed to sneak in a clearly anti-muslim law under the guise of other peoples' fear of those with their faces hidden. Odd how people manage to deal with each other on the phone (with no faces visible) quite well...

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Anonymous Coward

Wearing these thing is wrong

Simple as.

It is up to the state to put a stop to it.

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@ AC 15:48 GMT - Oh yes it is ..

The defendant quite clearly said (quote)"... all I want to do is live according to my religion"

She is therefore making it a religious matter and not accepting the laws of the state.

Hence she is in contempt of court.

Religion is a private matter and rightly considered so in a secular, democratic state.

This is a question of peeps wishing to claim that their beliefs, in fairies and whotnot, are more important than the democratically arrived at laws of a nation state.

France does not abide by religious laws.

Should she wish to live under religious laws I suggest she attends Charles De Gualle airport and awaits the next flight out to Riad or where ever.

France has come to the democratic decision that the full-veil, or "burqa", is repressive and devisive and that it's wearing under religious grounds is demeaning women folk.

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WTF?

@Wearing these thing is wrong

Says the Anonymous Coward using the V for Vendetta Mask icon...

I think my Irony Detector is about to go into melt-down...

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WTF?

A lof of bull, Scott

What if she is born in France? (and not "chosen to live in"?) Ok she might defend herself as maintaining cultural traditions (fuck the religion). Like the French defending their culture ?

Nothing to do with religion , then!

On another note, what if an immigrant into the UK, decides that he will not take an oath of allegiance to the Queen during the citizenship ceremony - which labour introduced as an exercise in vanity and patronising the queen( being republican in his/her belief) , despite meeting all other cirteria for eligibility and is already living here?

Will it be contempt of the Queen or State or Law? Technically, we are not Citizens, but subjects. So which law should prevail, given that we are also bound by EU legislation & Human Rights? Following UK rules would infringe on my EU guaranteed rights, then.

Who said it... the law is an ass! Contempt..... all the way.

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@ AC - 17:44 GMT

You seem to be under the impression that I support the French law in question. I may or may not support it - that is irrelevant. What I do support is the fact that it has been adopted and is now law in that country (France), and, as such, must be adhered to - despite remonstrations that it may unfairly discriminate against minority groups, even religious groups, who see fit to place their privately held beliefs above the law.

The French State is secular but many widely held religious beliefs are allowed to be held by citizens living there. But this is not about religion - UNTIL YOU declare that your privately held beliefs are above the law. Or that they somehow exempt you from conforming to the law.

What I object to is that peeps hijack ethnic, religious and cultural sympathies to try and go against state laws. Do I have a human right to uphold state laws should I feel so inclined? I certainly don't have the right to infringe them - I understand that.

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Anonymous Coward

Can the Stig go on holiday in France?

Well the answer is certainly yes. However, if he stopped for petrol he would likely be asked to remove his helmet when he walked into the station to pay, or use the loo. This is what happens to motorcyclists with similar crash helmets. The Stig would certainly be required to remove his helmet if he went into a police station or a court of law.

This was the situation well before the recent 'anti-burqa' legislation. Personally I don't think it will change.

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Go

France does not stop anybody from leaving....

If she was born in France but cannot live like the vast majority of French people, she is free to leave and go to a country with customs which match her beliefs.

What is absurd is to have masked people driving cars or being allowed in public places, for as long as AlQueda is still alive (outside a carnaval). Photo IDs of people wearing masks do not pass ANY common sense test, and masked terrorists are not welcomed in any society. It does not matter if these two ladies have no links to terrorism - if they are allowed to walk around in burkhas, terrorists will use the disguise sooner or later, as you have no way of knowing who is inside that "traditional garb" :(

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There has never been ...

a case where a woman wearing a burka refused to show her face when asked.

This NOT about hiding your identity, it IS about thinly veiled anti-Muslim sentiment in France.

It is also about the current government playing to the extreme right in a bid to stay in power next year.

****We need a Rumpole icon, I'd LOVE to see him defend someone accused of "unlawfully wearing an item of clothing".

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Happy

Superb!

Best laugh all day!

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Utter genius

Talk about an I'm sparticus moment.

Guy Fawkes icon is appropriate.

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The obvious point.

"A more likely outcome, the Telegraph notes, is that the matter will end up before the European Court of Human Rights."

Where they will lose. Banning a Burqa is idiotic and will go no where. This will be over-turned (as it should be) as it is quite anti-Islam.

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Baffled

By the number of downvotes on this. Can only assume the French are out in force tonight.

Whilst I think anyone who chooses to wear a sack according to their religion is a nutbag I wholeheartedly believe in their right to choose to do so.

This is precisely what the Human rights act should deal with and I eagerly await the day this silly racist, religionist law is repealed.

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@Gordon 10

Suggesting that I cannot be a muslim because of the colour of my skin or the country of my birth is highly offensive and you ought to be jailed for your racist views.

Actually, fuck trying to take the piss -- you're a fucking moron who should learn English before bothering to post.

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take a deep breath now ...

Gordon 10 didn't say that anyone anywhere can't be a Muslim. He said that you had to be a nutbag to wear a burqua for religious reasons. And, um, you can be a Muslim without wearing a burqua. Oh, and being anti-burqua does not equal being racist. Also, there wasn't a lot wrong with Gordon's English.

I'd go easy on calling people 'morons' . You might be risking jail for highly offensive language about the mentally challenged - though one defence does spring instantly to mind ...

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@Maty

I was calling Gordon a moron and a racist because he insinuated you had to be of a certain race to be a muslim. Either that, or he needs to learn English and realise that "racist" is a belief that one "race" of humans if superior to, or inferior to, another -- it does not mean a belief that one religion is, or is not, a good thing and it does not mean religious prejudice or hatred.

Perhaps I was a little harsh, but I hate the characterisation of anything anti-religious as racist. The law here is not racist it is anti-wearing-stupid-clothing or, if you must, anti-islamic and anti-religious.

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Coat

Bothersome Blow to Burqua Ban

"Since cops are under "strict orders" not to remove burqas," -- they felt like right burkes.

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Mushroom

May I suggest...

Berk-a?

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Coat

Surely...

If this had happened in England, we would have had headlines like, Beak Goes Beserk As Burqa-Clad Beryl Beats Berkshire Beat.

Shakespeare 1, Voltaire 0.

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Boffin

French Idiots

The solution is simple. Jail her, and put her in prison garb for the hearing. The jailers are allowed to remove the clothing of uncooperative prisoners and forcibly dress them in the uniforms prisoners wear..

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I'm so glad..

.. that there are many dictionaries and websites have explanations about what human rights are - go read them.

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Happy

Genius

Wow, they really thought that law through well, didn't they...

Where's the Win icon?

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Indeed...

We need a tiny Charlie Sheen to choose from.

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seconded

we've got a paris, why not a charlie?

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Anonymous Coward

I refuse to unveil my title!

"all I want to do is live according to my religion."

So, your special sky-fairy club rules outweigh the law of the land do they?

I'm glad France is at least taking a stand on this, albeit this was a mildly amusing thwarting of their court rules.

At least this should justify religious descrimination when employing people - why would you take somebody on who thought reasonable laws do not apply to them due to some erroneous belief.

Anonymous coward....for obvious reasons.

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Boffin

In this case, yes.

European Convention on Human Rights, Article 9, Para. 2:

"2. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."

Note the "and" between "prescribed by law" and "necessary in a democratic society...." That means that France can't just pass a law that restricts a religion, they have to prove that said law is necessary for one of the reasons listed thereafter. Given that many democratic societies flourish without a ridiculous law like the French one, I doubt they'll be able to prevail.

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Anonymous Coward

Err...

Ironically as you're posting as AC there is a "V Mask" next to your post - the film of V for Vendetta being rather clear about the use of Islamophobia in stirring up the masses.

It doesn't matter what people want to believe as long as they don't force their beliefs on others - if head/face coverings are being worn by choice the state has no right to interfere.

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Headmaster

Or not.

Notice the word "morals" in there, tucked somewhere between health and freedom. Since it's meaningless without further explanation, states can and certainly will interpret it to mean "I'm right and you're wrong".

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No right

Well this state believes it does have a right to interfere and the tricky thing with rights is that however much we'd like them to be universal things that sprung spontaneously into existence along with human intelligence they are in fact just privileges granted and maintained by the dominant force.

If there's some force powerful and bothered enough to bully the French state into backing down then that is what will happen, otherwise it has granted itself the right to interfere and withdrawn the right of its residents to wear these clothes.

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Anonymous Coward

It's fairly trivial to prove that showing one's face is necessary

How does one show that one has the right to enter or exit a country?

How does one show that one is the relevant person in a court hearing?

If you hide your face, you become interchangeable. Am I the same AC as above? We are all the same person, yes?

France has decided that their laws ban covering your face in certain locations - it may surprise you to learn that the laws in all European countries make the same proscriptions, the only difference being the list of proscribed locations.

If you don't like that law, then by all means campaign against it - that's what Democracy *is*.

However, if you break that law then you must be prepared to face the consequences.

Personally, I'm very surprised that whoever it was that did turn up at court wasn't immediately arrested for breaking that same law again, then held in contempt of court and remanded in custody.

Contempt carries a much higher penalty than refusing to uncover your face...

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Black Helicopters

IDs are used by all European countries

And Burkhas are not compatible with photo IDs. It has nothing to do with religion - it has everything to do with public safety and and not allowing bukhas to be used as a disguise.

Just try going into ANY bank wearing a ski mask in US (or most other countries, for that matter).....

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Anonymous Coward

@AC I refuse to unveil my title!

"So, your special sky-fairy club rules outweigh the law of the land do they?"

I do believe that is the point of the matter. If your special sky-fairy created all you see, hear touch taste and smell, then by the same token surely the sky-fairy clubs rules outweigh all those that the sky-fairy allows to be steward of all that the sjy-fairy allows you to see, hear touch taste and smell.

Put another way, the creator of all, outranks the creations he allows to play megalomania on his creations.

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Ooh, get-out-of-jail-free-card time.

" "So, your special sky-fairy club rules outweigh the law of the land do they?"

I do believe that is the point of the matter. If your special sky-fairy created all you see, hear touch taste and smell, then by the same token surely the sky-fairy clubs rules outweigh all those that the sky-fairy allows to be steward of all that the sjy-fairy allows you to see, hear touch taste and smell.

Put another way, the creator of all, outranks the creations he allows to play megalomania on his creations."

My special sky fairy told me (in a dream, obviously) I can hang bankers and take their money: is that OK?

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Gimp

Watched "V for Vendetta" the other day...

...and I have to say this sounds not-entirely unfamiliar.

Just imagining a silent crowd of burqa-clad shapes peacefully approaching the French parliament.

okay, that's a stretch, but still. Arresting someone 'cos you don't like what they're wearing. Only in France could the fashion police actually exist...

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Ceci n'est pas un title

Is there not a contempt of court offence in France?

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