French immigration official: ‘No burqas in the street’


PARIS (AP) — France’s immigration minister has proposed a debate on French “national identity,” saying it should not include face-covering Muslim veils such as the burqa.

Eric Besson says “the burqa runs counter to national values.” Speaking on LCI television Sunday, he said, “for me, no burqas in the street.”

A French parliamentary commission is holding six months of discussions on the wearing of face- and body-covering veils, and some politicians have suggested a ban.

Besson suggested a public debate on France’s “national identity,” a concept likely to rankle immigrants’ and minority rights groups.

Besson also defended a government decision to send illegal Afghan immigrants back to Kabul on charter flights last week.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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