Monday, June 22, 2009

Sarkozy : Full-Body Muslim Gowns a ‘Symbol of Enslavement’

VERSAILLES — From the royal grounds of Versailles, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France on Monday addressed a restive parliament about his vision of France that included a withering critique of burqas as an unacceptable symbol of “enslavement.”

Taking up a divisive issue that has sparked intense debate in the country, Mr. Sarkozy said there was no room in the French republic for the burqas, garments that envelope women and mask their faces.

“The issue of the burqa is not a religious issue, it is a question of freedom and of women’s dignity,” Mr. Sarkozy said in a sober address in which he frequently looked at his notes. “The burqa is not a religious sign, it is a sign of the subjugation, of the submission of women.”

“I want to say solemnly that it will not be welcome on our territory,” he said to enthusiastic applause.