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Page last updated at 04:38 GMT, Wednesday, 3 February 2010

France refuses a citizenship over full Islamic veil

A woman wears a full-length veil in Lyon, 25 January
The full-face covering has inflamed passions in France

The French government has refused to grant citizenship to a foreign national on the grounds that he forced his wife to wear the full Islamic veil.

The man, whose current nationality was not given, needed citizenship to settle in the country with his French wife.

But Immigration Minister Eric Besson said this was being refused because he was depriving his wife of the liberty to come and go with her face uncovered.

Last week, a parliamentary committee proposed a partial ban on full veils.

It also recommended that anyone showing visible signs of "radical religious practice" be refused residence permits and citizenship.

'Integration'

In a statement, Mr Besson said he had signed a decree on Tuesday rejecting a man's citizenship application after it emerged that he had ordered his wife to cover herself with a head-to-toe veil.

Find out about different styles of Muslim headscarf

"It became apparent during the regulation investigation and the prior interview that this person was compelling his wife to wear the all-covering veil, depriving her of the freedom to come and go with her face uncovered, and rejected the principles of secularism and equality between men and women," he said.

Later, the minister stressed that French law required anyone seeking naturalisation to demonstrate their desire for integration.

Mr Besson's decree has now been sent to Prime Minister Francois Fillon for approval.

The interior ministry says only 1,900 women wear full veils in France, home to Europe's biggest Muslim minority.

In 2008, a French court denied citizenship to a Moroccan woman on the grounds that her "radical" practice of Islam was incompatible with French values.



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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Al Jazeera France denies citizenship over veil - 7 hrs ago
Reuters France creates paper trail in campaign against Muslim veils - 15 hrs ago
News24.com Penalty for man over veil - 17 hrs ago
Times Online I believe that religious beliefs have no privileged status in a democratic society - 18 hrs ago
Indian Express Man with 'burqa' wife has no place in France: PM - 18 hrs ago



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