While many French politicians criticise the details of a bill banning the full Islamic veil, the idea behind it enjoys wide cross-party support.
By abstaining in large numbers, the opposition effectively ensured the bill’s safe passage. Only one politician actually voted against it.
Patrick Ollier from the Centre Right said: “The burqa involves the dignity of women. It’s an important subject and we’re voting for this law against the burqa, because we want women to be protected from those who force them to wear this piece of clothing that has nothing to do with religion.”
For the opposition Socialists, Manuel Valls added: “I am one of the large majority of members of parliament who has, for months, considered that the niqab and the head-to-toe veil have nothing to do with the values of the Republic and it has to be banned.”
But many of those most directly concerned say they will fight the law – women like Kenza Drider who has been an outspoken critic appearing often in the media.
“I’ll never change my life, not for anything in this world. My niqab is my niqab, I will keep it, “ she said.
‘‘The government can accept my decision or not, I am not an outlaw. If I’m fined by the police, I will take it to human rights in the name of my freedom.”