Excerpt:

They are the women prepared to defy France for the burqa.

From today French police have the power to stop Muslim women wearing full-face veils and to threaten them with fines or prison if they refuse to expose their faces.

All over France posters have been put up reminding veil-clad women that "the Republic lives with its face uncovered".

Last year, President Nicolas Sarkozy pushed through a controversial law banning Muslim women from wearing burqas or niqabs in public. He said the law was to increase security but claimed it would liberate Muslim women from the oppression of their veil.


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