Bill on burqa goes to French Cabinet

One runs her own company, another is a housewife and a third, a divorcee, raises her children by herself. Like nearly 2,000 other Muslim women who freely wear face-covering veils anywhere in France, their lives will soon change and they are worried.
On Wednesday, French justice minister Michele Alliot-Marie presented a draft law to the Cabinet banning Muslim veils that cover the face, the first formal step in a process to forbid such attire in all public places in France. It calls for $185 fines and, in some cases, citizenship classes for women who run afoul of the law.
“Citizenship should be experienced with an uncovered face,” President Nicolas Sarkozy told the Cabinet meeting, in remarks released by his office. “There can be no other solution but a ban in all public places.”
Although the interior ministry estimates there are only 1,900 women who cover their faces with veils, the planned law would be another defining moment for Islam in France as the nation tries to bring its Muslim population — at least 5 million, the largest in western Europe — into the mainstream, even by force of law.
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Local govt bans beard for workers
Maebashi (Japan), May 19: Finding beard and stubble as unpleasant and deterrent to decorum at work, a Japanese municipal government has its employees from growing facial hair.
The Isesaki government of the Gunma Prefecture city said it has received complaints from some citizens who felt offended by unshaved employees at work, following a holiday, and has instructed the “offenders” to shave each time a complaint was filed.
But it is the first time that the city has put the ban, which carries no penalties.
The internal affairs and communications ministry said it believes Isesaki is the country’s first municipality to introduce such a policy. The ban was introduced in step with the start of this year’s “Cool Biz” casual attire campaign for the summer months for city government employees. The campaign, which is aimed at cutting back on air-conditioner use by allowing government and company employees to work without jackets and neckties, has been practised in Japan since 2005 under the initiative of the environment ministry. “Some citizens find (bearded men) unpleasant,” a city government in-house notice says.
—Kyodo

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