French Cabinet Backs Veil Ban

This can’t be good for the already strained relations between the French and the country’s Muslim population. On Wednesday, the cabinet approved a bill making it illegal to wear clothes designed to hide one’s face—in essence, the full-face veil worn by many Muslim women. Calling the veil, "an affront to the nation's values of dignity and equality," the measure would mean that women who wear them in public could be fined, while men found to have forced them to do so could face jail time. Less than 24 hours after the announcement, however, construction was due to begin in Marseille on what will be France’s largest mosque. In a city which is home to 250,000 Muslims, the mosque will feature a 82-foot minaret and hold 7,000 faithful. "This is recognition,” said Nourredine Cheikh, the man who led the campaign for the mosque’s construction. “This is what tells me that I have the same status as Catholics and other religious people in this country."