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(Cathy Yeulet/Getty Images/Hemera)
(Cathy Yeulet/Getty Images/Hemera)

Should Canada ban Islamic face veils? Add to ...

France's ban on Islamic face veils came into force today, and already, at least two veiled women have reportedly been detained for protesting the new law.

The ban, which carries a fine of 150 euros ($207), has reignited the debate over where to draw the line between protecting a nation's values and ensuring individuals' freedom of expression.

Those supporting the ban say the veils oppress women and don't fall in line with the country's values of gender equality. Under France's new law, anyone who forces women to wear a veil can face up to a year in prison and a fine 30,000 of euros.

But others, including some women who wear the veils themselves, believe the ban infringes on their freedom of religion and smacks of anti-Islamic sentiment.

In Canada, calls to introduce a similar ban have also prompted heated debate. For years, the Muslim Canadian Congress has urged for an end to the practice of wearing face-concealing niqabs and burkas, arguing the veils aren't required under Islam, but are rather symbols of religious extremism and misogyny.

Canadian women who say they choose to wear the veils, however, argue that far from oppressing them, the face coverings guard their modesty.

Here, as in France, those who actually wear the veils are few.

Should Canada consider following France's lead? Or would doing so put unfair restrictions on a minority?

 

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