Excerpt:

Karima has a plan. If police stop her for wearing a veil over her face, she'll remove it — then put it back on once they're out of sight. If that doesn't work, she'll stay home, or even leave France.

For Muslim women who cover their faces with veils, it is the moment for making plans. Starting April 11, a new law banning garments that hide the face takes effect. Women who disobey it risk a fine, special classes and a police record.

The law comes as Muslims face what some see as a new jab at their religion: President Nicolas Sarkozy's party is holding a debate Tuesday on the place of Islamic practices, and Islam itself, in strictly secular but traditionally Catholic France.


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