A new law goes into effect today in France that bans Muslim women from wearing full-face veils in public. Women who refuse to remove the veils, known as burkas, will be fined up to 150 Euros — the equivalent of $216 — and ordered to attend classes. Supporters of the new law do not see it as an attack on Islam, but see it as a way of supporting a woman’s right to appear in public unveiled even though the law does not allow women to choose for herself to cover her face in public.

This new law will affect approximately 2,000 women in the Muslim population who wear burkas which are traditionally found in parts of Arabia and South Asia. Critics are accusing President Nicolas Sarkozy of using the law to stigmatize France’s Muslim minority. Many Muslims and rights advocates accuse Sarkozy of pinpointing one of France’s minority groups to signal to anti-immigration voters that he shares their concern about Islam threatening French culture.

What do you think? Does this new law unfairly target women’s religious customs?

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