A French imam active in Muslim dialogue with Jews has backed a law against full face veils, parting ways with most Muslim leaders in France urging parliamentarians not to vote for a planned "burqa ban."
Hassen Chalghoumi, whose mosque stands in a northern Paris suburb where many Muslims live, said women who wanted to cover their faces should move to Saudi Arabia or other Muslim countries where that was a tradition.
France's National Assembly is likely to pass a resolution soon denouncing full veils and to try in coming months to hammer out a law forbidding them, deputies say.
President Nicolas Sarkozy calls the veils an affront to women's dignity unwelcome in France, home to about five million Muslims. Fewer than 2,000 women wear the veils, known here as burqas although most are Middle Eastern niqabs showing the eyes.
"Yes, I am for a legal ban of the burqa, which has no place in France, a country where women have been voting since 1945," Hassen Chalghoumi, 36, told the daily Le Parisien.
Chalghoumi, who has received death threats for his promotion of dialogue with Jews, said that full face veils had no basis in Islam and "belong to a tiny minority tradition reflecting an ideology that scuttles the Muslim religion."
"The burqa is a prison for women, a tool of sexist domination and Islamist indoctrination," said Chalghoumi, whose mosque stands in Drancy, site of a wartime camp where Jews were detained before transport to Nazi conce... >>>
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