French President Nicholas Sarkozy has put his full political backing behind a move to ban the full Islamic veil in the country saying it was “not welcome” for reasons of sexual equality. “The president, who had shied away from speaking on the issue recently, used his new year’s speech to express his desire for a move against face-covering veils. But, perhaps to dampen down accusations of stoking anti-Muslim feeling, Sarkozy said any law should avoid stigmatising any sections of society. In a rebuke to figures in his rightwing UMP party who are pushing for a total ban on the burka or niqab in public in the near future, he said lawmakers should wait for the results of a six-month parliamentary inquiry before acting further. Once the panel’s recommendations were known, Sarkozy said, parliament should pass a non-binding but ‘unambiguous’ resolution making clear the full veil’s incompatibility with French values.”
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