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French driving veil row escalates

From Expatica.com below, but you can follow news in French here on Figaro.

French driving veil row escalates

A political row over the case of a French woman fined for driving in an Islamic veil gathered pace Sunday as a leading Muslim scholar and a French far-right leader both weighed in.
With the government planning to ban the full Islamic veil in public, the fining of the French woman in Nantes took a political turn when a minister threatened to punish her Muslim husband for offences including polygamy.
The woman has challenged the fine as a breach of her human rights.
Tariq Ramadan, a professor of Islamic studies at Oxford University, said that the move by French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux to punish the woman’s husband “betrays the values of France”.
“To be polygamous is illegal… that is the law that says that. But since when has a minister been able to say that they will take away his nationality?” Ramadan told around 1,000 people at a conference the Arrhama mosque in Nantes.
Hortefeux had written to Immigration Minister Eric Besson asking him to look into allegations the woman’s husband may belong to a radical group and may be a polygamist with four wives and 12 children and guilty of welfare fraud. He said the man could be stripped of his French nationality if they proved true.

Swiss-born Ramadan, who had a Bush-era visa ban lifted by the United States earlier this year, hailed the Muslim community of Nantes for refusing to react to “provocation” over the issue.
Mourad Sandi, an official at the Arrhama mosque, said the affair had been given too much attention in the media. “I am not sure the subject merits our discussing it, we do not want to add fuel to the fire,” he said.
But the collective of Nantes mosques said in a statement that they were “worried by this systematic stigmatisation which goes against the values of the Republic”.
The association “considers that the stopping of a driver is a judicial procedure and is angry at how such an event has been turned into being all about Islam.”

Meanwhile French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen told local media it was “scandalous” that the man’s alleged wives were receiving family benefits and said the potential stripping of the man’s French citizenship was “normal”…

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