The first steps in a legal challenge to the French ban on face coverings have already been taken. Twelve Muslim women were arrested outside Notre Dame Cathedral on Monday, apparently for an unauthorised protest rather than for wearing the niqab - ten of the twelve were not wearing it.
A law banning the burqa will not resolve the identity crisis many European countries are going through, nor will it help towards the integration of European citizens, says Valerie Hartwich. The burqa is but a crystallisation, an expression of these tensions.
Religious liberty campaigners have condemned a vote by the French National Assembly in favour of banning face coverings in public. The proposed law is aimed at preventing Muslim women from wearing a veil, known as a niqab.
Recent years have seen a string of controversies relating to freedom of dress. Muslim headscarves, Christian crosses and Sikh bangles are just a few of the items to cause controversy. Given the importance of clothing and appearance to personal expression and religious identity, why do we not see a united campaign for freedom of dress?
France's main opposition party, the Socialists, have said that they will not support government plans to outlaw the wearing of certain forms of Islamic dress in public. The governing party has drafted plans to fine women for covering their faces.