“Burkha is not welcome in France.”
Nicolas Sarkozy’s statement in his speech to French Legislature in 2009 was a game changer in Europe. Till then criticising burkha was considered politically incorrect. Jack Straw had faced criticism for saying he was uncomfortable with talking to women whose faces he could not see.
After Sarkozy’s statement Switzerland banned construction of new minarets. Belgium banned burkha. Barcelona banned burkha.
Burkha ban is said to enforce liberty and equality. Many Muslim men force their wives to wear burkha and the ban gives Muslim women liberty not to wear. The ban enforces equality between men and women and between all women. Men who force their wives will have to pay more fine.
There were some discussions on news channels. Indian panellists, by coincidence or design, spoke against burkha ban. French panellists, including Muslim women, spoke in favour of burkha ban. Some talked of French values and want people in France to be French.
In France there is ban on religious symbols in schools. Sikh students who wanted to wear turbans were not allowed to enter schools.