Excerpt:

France's ban on full face veils, a first in Europe, went into force on Monday, exposing anyone who wears the Muslim niqab or burqa in public to fines of 150 euros ($216).

A Muslim property dealer, who is urging women to keep wearing the veil if they want to, has urged supporters to go to Notre Dame cathedral in central Paris for a silent prayer during the day, and is also offering to help people pay the fines.

France's five-million-strong Muslim minority is Western Europe's largest, but fewer than 2,000 women are believed actually to wear a full face veil.


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