(photo credit: Associated Press)
's prime minister
asked a government body Friday to study the legal possibilities that would
allow banning face-covering veils in .
Francois Fillon's letter to the Council of State came the same week that a
parliamentary committee recommended forbidding burqa-like garments in public
services, but stopped short of recommending a ban of such dress on the street.
The prime minister's letter requests the council, which rules on the validity
of French laws, to help the government determine how to put in place laws that
would make the wearing of all-encompassing veils illegal.
President Nicolas Sarkozy favors an all out ban, saying such garments have
no place in
and that the dress debases women. The letter was released Friday.
Conservative lawmaker Eric Raoult, the panel's No. 2, told The Associated
Press earlier this week that a ban could be in place by the end of 2010.
In his letter, Fillon said he wanted the council to advise on legislation
that would lead to the "widest and most effective" application
possible of a ban. Fillon wants the council to provide its guidance by the end
Imposing a ban of some nature on all-encompassing veils could be done
through a parliamentary resolution. However, Fillon said that his government
wanted a law in order to demonstrate that such veils "are not acceptable
in our republic."
However, Fillon's letter stressed the need for a consensus and that it was
important not to hurt the feelings of Muslims.