Azerbaijan, Baku, July 16 / Trend E.Ostapenko /
Promoting a bill to ban the burqa and niqab in France, President Nicolas Sarkozy is unlikely to guide only an idea to raise his low rating among the population, one of the leading European analysts Dominique Moisi supposes.
"Sarkozy is a man who is concerned about this issue. Even before taking office, he was interested in religious matters more than his predecessor Jacques Chirac, - Moisi said. - It is not biased to think that Sarkozy is merely trying to gain more potential voters by promoting this bill".
The lower house of the French Parliament on Tuesday approved a ban on the wearing of female Islamic dress, which hides the face, in public. About 336 MPs voted for it, one was against, about 240 MPs abstained from voting. In September the law will be submitted to a vote in the French Senate.
Discussions in the Parliament are held amid a major corruption scandal implicating the ruling elite to the financial machinations. This has reduced the already record-low rating of the government (26 percent). It is associated with the implementation of reforms unpopular among the public, in particular the pension reform. According to it, the retirement age in France in connection with the crisis will increase from 60 to 62.
Moisi believes that the presidential support for the law on burqa and niqab is unlikely to be an attempt to restore its rating among the population. The French president, in his view, acts in accordance with the feelings of his citizens.
Niqab and burqa as opposed to the Muslim headscarf (hijab) are indeed a violation of what is considered as European culture and European values for the president, as well as for most Frenchmen, Moisi, a special adviser to the French Institute for International Relations (IFRI ) said.
"People over a long period of time have developed the art of portrait in the West. A face is an opportunity to see the eyes of a person and establish contact with him. If a group of people refuses from showing face or even eyes, these people make a choice to separate from society, and it is difficult to accept", he said.
Burqa is worn mainly in countries of the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and some parts of Pakistan. It is a veil which completely covers a woman from outsiders, with the hair mesh for the eyes. Niqab is Muslim women's headdress covering the face, but with a slit for the eyes.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is a staunch opponent of such women's clothing in France. In his speech a year ago at Versailles, Sarkozy has called those kind of face-covering veils as symbols of women's enslavement, which is contrary to the national values of France.
According to the recently approved bill, it will be forbidden to wear burqa and niqab not only in state institutions or schools, but also on the street. The penalty for violation of the law will hit 150 euros. Violators will be obliged to attend the class on French law. The penalty for compulsion to wear the veil will be a hundred times more - from 15,000-19,000 euros - or a year of imprisonment.
The largest Muslim community, numbering about 5 million people of a total population of about 62 million lives in France. Every tenth French practises Islam. However, according to official figures, there are only about 2,000 fully-covered women in France.
Intransigence of the French authority in relation to the dignity of women, which is infringed by wearing of clothing covering the face, will also continue in case of the new president's victory in elections in 2012, Moisi thinks.
"With regard to relations to burqa and niqab, those left in the opposition, and right in the power fully share the same position: "yes" - for scarves, "no" - for burqa", Moisi said, describing his perception of French society .
Accoring to Moisi, the key question is if the French public needs a law concerning the behavior of a maximum 2,000 people? Isn't this too heavy measure?