Catholic World News

French bishops announce opposition to proposed Islamic veil ban

February 02, 2010

The bishops of France have announced their opposition to Prime Minister Francois Fillon’s proposal to ban the wearing of burqas in public institutions. An estimated 1,900 women in France currently wear the veils, which allow only the area around the eyes to be visible.

“The French, including the Catholics among them, should not let themselves be gripped by fear or a ‘clash of civilizations’ theory,” said Bishop Michel Santier of Créteil. “If we want Christian minorities in Muslim majority countries to enjoy all their rights, we should in our country respect the rights of all believers to practice their faith. A dialogue in truth among believers will help us go beyond mutual mistrust. The path will be long and hard.”


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  • Posted by: - Feb. 03, 2010 11:55 AM ET USA

    The role of women in islam is anything but neutral and easy to accept. For me as a woman watching women living under such conditions is painful and offensive to my dignity, as it would be for a black person to watch other black people in public wearing items which were essential to slavery. It is difficult when the male-only catholic establishment disregards the needs of women by simply claiming religious freedom.

  • Posted by: New Sister - Feb. 02, 2010 2:43 PM ET USA

    Gaby have you encountered burquas in Western society? Have you MET the women who wear them? I have...and not one yet has worn it freely for her religious expression, but because she is forced to. I support PM Fillon's move to HELP these women.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 02, 2010 11:29 AM ET USA

    Christians should uphold religious rights as a matter of principle - irrespective of which religion is "better" or "right". This is NOT craven. There are plenty of other laws on the books that prevent human sacrifices, wife beating and genital mutilation, but wearing a burka harms no one and should be allowed.

  • Posted by: New Sister - Feb. 02, 2010 8:13 AM ET USA

    That works only if one operates from the *unreasonable* premise that all religions are equal... bottom line is some religious practices (e.g., human sacrifices, wife beating, genital mutilation) must be outlawed in a Christian society.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Feb. 02, 2010 7:36 AM ET USA

    It is Bishop Santier who is "gripped by fear" namely that Christians will become at risk to be victims of violence in Muslim majority countries. It is the bishop's view that any concession desired by Muslims in France must given to them because of the Christian hostages in Muslim majority countries. This is craven -- lâcheté