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New French law barring veils re-opens debate on Islamic immigrants

April 05, 2011

A new French law banning garments that hide the face--obviously aimed at Muslim women wearing their traditional veil--comes into effect on April 11, and promises to bring a new intensity to discussions about the growing Islamic influence in France.

There are an estimated 5 million Muslims now living in France: more than in any other European country. As presidential elections draw near, political figures are speaking frequently about the limits of accommodation to this rapidly rising religious minority.

"This growth in the number of (Muslims) and a certain number of behaviors cause problems," said interior minister Claude Gueant. "There is no reason why the nation should accord to one particular religion more rights than religions that were formerly anchored in our country."


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