Six months ago, the people of France were informed today was the day Muslim women across the country would be banned from wearing burqas (dress covering the entire face) and niqabs (dress covering everything besides the eyes) in public.
The only place (outside of their home) where Muslim women who choose to wear a burqa or niqab can do so is in privately-owned vehicles. The hijab, which covers the hair and neck but not the face and the chador, which covers the body but not the face, are not effected by this particular law and are still deemed “acceptable.”
According to news reports, police have been given instructions not to forcibly remove anyone’s veil in public. Instead they must issue a warning and ask them to remove the garment and identify themselves. If they do not cooperate, they’re escorted to the nearest police station and possibly given a fine.
The punishment for wearing the veiled outfits in public is either a fine of 150 euros or the person breaking the law can be asked to carry out public service duty as an alternative. Perhaps most interesting is if a person “forces” a woman to wear a burqa or niqab in public, he can be fined up to 60,000 euros (more than US$100,000) and given a year-long prison sentence.