French woman loses her human rights appeal in burka ban
THE European Court of Human Rights has upheld France's ban on wearing a burka or a niqab in public, ruling that the 2010 law on religious headgear does not breach Muslim women's human rights.
The Strasbourg court ruled in the case brought by a devout French Muslim that there had been no breach of her right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and no breach of the prohibition of discrimination.
France has both the largest Muslim community in western Europe, estimated at around five million, and some of the continent's most restrictive laws about expressions of faith in public.
It was the first European country to pass a law banning veils that conceal the face in public. Belgium later followed suit.
The 24-year-old plaintiff, identified by her initials SAS, had described herself as a "devout Muslim and she wears the burka and niqab in accordance with her religious faith, culture and personal convictions".
She insisted that "neither her husband nor any other member of her family puts pressure on her to dress in this manner".
Religious symbols such as headscarves, crucifixes, or Jewish skullcaps are banned from state schools in France. (© Daily Telegraph, London)