Kenza Drider, a burqa-wearing French Muslim, is surrounded by media in the French capital.
The recent move by France to impose a ban on burqa, a cover-all headdress some Muslim women choose to wear, has come in contrast with the country’s tolerance of public nudity.
The ban came into force on Monday and was followed by immediate arrest of nearly 60 women that defied the ban by walking outside the famed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, reported a Press TV correspondent from the French capital.
A recently-surfaced video, meanwhile, featured a naked male running around the country’s streets while trying to cut a figure as a pole vaulter.
Kenza Drider, a young Muslim that left the southern city of Avignon for Paris to participate in a television program on the day the ban became law, was among the detainees.
“This law infringes my European rights; I cannot but defend them, that is to say my freedom to come and go and my religious freedom,” she said.
“This law breaches these rights,” said the mother of four.
Her husband, Allal, said, “According to this law, my wife would have to remain cloistered at home, do you find that normal?”
“They come here for their liberty for their freedom to dress as they want. I thank them to come here to defend this form of liberty,” said a female supporter of the Muslim women.
“I think the law is nonsense. Politicians have nothing better to do than attack our veils,” said another Muslim woman that had taken his child out while observing the Islamic dress code in spite of the restriction.
Advocates of the ban in country that purportedly advocates democracy and basic freedoms say the regulation protects women’s freedoms as well as France’s firmly-embedded principles of secularism.
“Quite a large part of the people believe that the women are weak. So they think that the republic has to protect the minorities, the people, who are weak and then they thought that it was necessary to make a law,” said Velentine Zuber, religious practices professor at Sorbonne — the University of Paris.
Based on the procedures dictated by the burqa ban, the police would take the female violators to a police station until they consents to be unveiled for identification.
A spokesperson for the police officers’ union warily stated that the police have many other problems to solve.
There are fewer than 2,000 women wearing a full-face veil in France, which is home to five million Muslims — the largest Muslim community in the EU.