Muslim women fined in France over veils

2011-09-22 12:44
Paris - A French court on Thursday convicted two women for wearing Islamic face veils in public, in the first conviction since a ban on wearing the veils came into effect in April.

The court in the town of Meaux, about 40km east of Paris, fined Hind Ahmas, 32, and another woman for appearing outside the local town hall in niqabs - a veil that covers the hair and face with a slit for the eyes, their lawyer Gilles Devers told the German Press Agency dpa.

Devers said Ahmas was fined €120 and the other woman €80.

He said he would appeal their conviction, claiming the ban violates the women's basic rights.

"The problem is not the fine. The problem is that these women are effectively under house arrest. That's the real punishment," Devers said.

Hoping to be fined

France was the first European country to ban the wearing of the Islamic burqa, or full-body covering, and niqab in public. Since then dozens of women have been booked by police but no cases, bar this one, had gone to court.

Ahmas and her co-accused were fined after showing up at Meaux town hall on May 5 with a birthday cake for Mayor Jean-Francois Cope, who is also the leader of President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative ruling Union for a Popular Majority (UMP).

The cake was made of almonds - a word that sounds like the French word for fines (amendes) - and was meant as a dig at the government over its timid application of the ban.

Ahmas had said she hoped to be fined, so that she could challenge the law, which she sees as an attack on her freedom of religion, all the way to the European Court of Human Rights if her appeals failed in France.

An estimated 2 000 women in France were estimated to wear the garments when the law was passed last year.
Read more on:    france  |  religion

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Miley Cyrus can’t get enough of her new puppy

Miley's new dog is too adorable.



13 guilty pets
Meet SA's top poacher-catcher
The unusual pets of Instagram
Bertie sets a new world record!

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

The Leo moon adds an element of drama and entertainment. A significant person that you may consult or confide in may play more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.