No French citizenship for veiled 'radical' Islamic wife

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The Independent Online

A French court has refused citizenship to a Moroccan woman, ruling that her practice of Islam is too "radical" and she is too submissive to be compatible with basic French values.

The Conseil d'Etat, France's highest court, said her religious practices were "incompatible with essential values of the French community, particularly the principle of equality of the sexes". Until now, the court had rejected only Muslim applicants deemed sympathetic to fundamentalist groups.

The 32-year-old Moroccan woman, named as Faiza M, lives with her French husband and their three children, all born in France. The family practise Salafism, which involves a strict interpretation of Islamic dress-codes and personal status law, and as such Mme M wears a black burqa that covers her body except her eyes.

Mme M, who has lived in France since 2000, had asked the court to overturn her failed 2005 citizenship application, which was rejected because of "non-integration". But the court upheld the decision, citing her strict dress code and private life as reasons .

Emmanuelle Prada-Bordenave, the government commissioner who delivered the ruling, said Mme M had presented herself for interviews with immigration officials "attired from head to toe in the clothing of women from the Arabian peninsula, with a veil covering her hair, forehead and chin and a piece of cloth over her face. Her eyes could only be seen through a small slit. She lives virtually as a recluse, disconnected from French society. She has no concept of laïcité [the French doctrine of religious neutrality] nor the right to vote. She lives in total subservience to the men in her family."

Legal experts say Mme M can reapply for nationality if she can prove that "she has assimilated the values of the Republic".

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