Emory International Law Review


Shaira Nanwani


In the spring of 2011, France enacted a law banning the concealment of the face in public spaces (the 'burqa ban'). The burqa ban creates two new punishable offenses in France. First, wearing clothing designed to conceal one's face in a public space is punishable by either a maximum of a €150 fine or by being required to take a class on the meaning of citizenship, or both. Second, forcing a woman to wear a face-covering veil is punishable by one year of imprisonment or a €30,000 fine. The burqa ban, which was first introduced by the French National Assembly and passed 'overwhelmingly' through both houses of the French Parliament, went into effect in France on April 11, 2011. While this Comment considers several factors, it argues that the burqa ban is an unjustifiable restriction upon the fundamental freedom of religion guaranteed by Article 9 of the European Convention.