French ban on face covering
The French ban on face covering (French: Loi interdisant la dissimulation du visage dans l'espace public, ""Act prohibiting concealment of the face in public space"") is an act of parliament passed by the Senate of France on 14 September 2010, resulting in the ban on the wearing of face-covering headgear, including masks, helmets, balaclava, niqābs and other veils covering the face in public places, except under specified circumstances. The ban also applies to the burqa, a full-body covering, if it covers the face. Consequently, full body costumes and Zentais (skin-tight garments covering entire body) were banned. The bill had previously been passed by the National Assembly of France on 13 July 2010.The key argument supporting this proposal is that face-coverings prevent the clear identification of a person, which is both a security risk, and a social hindrance within a society which relies on facial recognition and expression in communication. The key argument against the ban is that it encroaches on individual freedoms.As of 11 April 2011, it is illegal to wear a face-covering veil or other mask in public places such as the street, shops, museums, public transportation, and parks. Veils such as the chador, scarves and other headwear that do not cover the face, are not affected by this law and can be worn. The law applies to all citizens, including men and non-Muslims, who may not cover their face in public except where specifically provided by law (such as motor-bike riders and safety workers) and during established occasional events (such as some carnivals). The law imposes a fine of up to €150, and/or participation in citizenship education, for those who violate the law. The bill also penalises, with a fine of €30,000 and one year in prison, anyone who forces (by violence, threats, or abuse of power) another to wear face coverings; these penalties may be doubled if the victim is under the age of 18.As a result of the law, the only exceptions to a woman wearing a niqāb in public will be if she is travelling in a private car or worshiping in a religious place. French police say that while there are five million Muslims in France, fewer than 2,000 are thought to fully cover their faces with a veil. The wearing of all conspicuous religious symbols in public schools was previously banned in 2004 by a different law, the French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools. This affected the wearing of Islamic veils and headscarves in schools, as well as turbans and other distinctive items of dress.The law was challenged and taken to the European Court of Human Rights which upheld the French law on 1 July 2014, accepting the argument of the French government that the law was based on ""a certain idea of living together"".