Trying to control the increasing Islamization of its society, the French Senate passed a bill that forbids women from wearing the burqa and other face-hiding veils in public. The vote was nearly unamious, 246-1. The Senate's action follows that of the country's National Assembly, which acted in June and also passed the bill by a large margin. The bill awaits the singnature of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The bill imposes a $185 fine on women who wear veils in public, but even more importantly, cracks down on Muslim men who force women to do so. Men face a fine of nearly $40,000. The AP called it "one more blow" to Islam in France, but did not explain what other "blows" Islam has suffered.
But whatever the reason women may no longer cover their faces in public, the country's radical Left, as expected, chalks the action up to Islamophobia.
Raphael Liogier, a sociology professor who heads the Observatory of the Religious in Aix-en-Provence, says that Muslims in France are already targeted by hate-mongers and the ban on face-covering veils "will officialize Islamophobia."
"With the identity crisis that France has today, the scapegoat is the Muslim," he told The Associated Press.
"Ironically, instead of helping some women integrate, the measure may keep them cloistered in their homes to avoid exposing their faces in public.
"I won't go out. I'll send people to shop for me. I'll stay home, very simply," said Oum Al Khyr, who wears a "niqab" that hides all but the eyes.
"I'll spend my time praying," said the single woman "over 45" who lives in Montreuil on Paris' eastern edge. "I'll exclude myself from society when I wanted to live in it."
One Muslim woman told the AP interviewer she would sue France in the European Court of Human Rights: "I will accept the fine with great pleasure."
France is home to five million Muslims, the largest population in Europe, which may explain why it has an identity crisis. Like many Europeans nations, it is suffering the consequences of a decades-long open-borders policy that has allowed Muslims to establish enclaves across the country, particularly in Paris, where rioting Muslims sent the city up in flames in November, 2008.
Now, it has begun to act in its own defense, following such countries as Switzerland. In 2009, the Swiss banned the Muslim minaret, described by Turkish President Recep Erdogan as the "Muslim Bayonet." That law sent European leftists into a tizzy.
Gypsies Go Home
This latest move to protect France from the influence of unwelcome immigrants follows its expulsion of 1,000 illegal-alien Gypsies who were gathered in illegal camps and committing crimes. France paid each deportee $385.
Although the European Union is essentially a borderless superstate entitling Europeans to travel anywhere they wish, a country can expel those within its borders without proper papers.
"We do not evacuate ... illegal camps because they are Roma's [Roma is another name for Gypsies]," Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said, "we dismantle them because they are illegal," he said.
The EU labeled the move a "disgrace," and said that France was "breaking European law," as the New York Times summed up the position of EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding. "My patience is wearing thin," she warned at a news conference in Brussels, Belgium. "No member can expect special treatment when fundamental values and European laws are at stake." She likened the expulsions to what occurred to the Jews in World War II.
"Enough is enough!" she thundered, pounding her fist."After 11 years of experience on the commission, I even go further," she said. "This is a disgrace. Discrimination on the basis or ethnic origin or race has no place in Europe."
Then, of course, the usual suspects chimed in, the Times reported:
One prominent French organization supporting immigrant rights, Gisti, said it also was contemplating a lawsuit against the government. "Can you imagine a directive explicitly naming Jews or Arabs?" asked Stephane Maugendre, the president of Gisti, on France Info Radio.
What the EU will do if France refuses to rescind the expulsion order or pay any fines remains to be seen.
Photo: AP Images