The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights has ruled that France’s ban on full-face veils does not breach religious freedom.
That means the so-called burqa ban is legal and will stay.
The ruling was in relation to a case brought by a woman, described as “a devout Muslim,” who wears the burqa for religious, personal and cultural reasons.
France has the largest Muslim minority in Europe, around 5 million, and some of the continent’s most restrictive laws about expressing faith in public.
In 2010, it was the first EU country to pass a law banning the Burqa. Belgium later passed a similar law. Italy and the Netherlands are expected to follow suit.
Judges at the court said the law did not exceed the margin of interpretation in interpretation by states in implementing the European Convention on Human Rights.
The decision is definitive.
French officials say the covering one’s face is a security risk because it prevents people from being identified.
Anyone wearing the full-face veil in public is liable to a fine of 150 euros or lessons in French citizenship.