European court upholds France's full-face veil ban

By Kyle Johnson,

A European rights court ruled in favor of France over their ban on full-face veil, saying that it isn't a violation of religious freedom for Muslims.

The European Court of Human Rights upheld the ban, saying that the rights of Muslim women weren't breached and that the 2010 law doesn't go beyond the country's authority, according to The Local. The Strasbourg-based court noted that the law also is allowable due to increasing social cohesion.

"The Court emphasized that respect for the conditions of 'living together' was a legitimate aim for the measure at issue," the ECHR said in a statement.

When the law went into effect in 2011, a young woman, who is a "devout Muslim" anonymously brought suit as "she wears the burqa and the niqab in accordance with her religious faith, culture and personal convictions."

Her lawyers claimed that the full-face veil law stepped on her freedoms in several ways, such as freedom of religion, expression, assembly and against discrimination.

Those who support the full-face veil ban made several claims while backing it, including that the ban helps to preserve French culture and secularism and prevents the people from hiding their identity, The New York Times reports.

That last part also was mentioned by the court. The ECHR said that upholding the law "was not expressly based on the religious connotation of the clothing in question but solely on the fact that it concealed the face."

Women caught wearing a full-face veil are open to a $215 fine, though police claim that the ban isn't often enforced.

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