French anti-hijab law

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A court in France has convicted a young Muslim woman over engaging in a dispute with police officers who arrested her for wearing a full-face Islamic veil or niqab.

The court in Versailles, near the capital Paris, on Wednesday gave Cassandra Belin, 20, a one-month suspended prison sentence for allegedly insulting and threatening three police officers at the time of her detention.

The young woman was also fined 150 Euros (about $200) -under the country’s burqa (body covering) law - for wearing the veil.

The woman’s lawyers, who argued that the ban on burqa has negative effects on religious freedom and unjustly target Muslims, had demanded an emergency ruling on the constitutionality of the ban before sentencing.

However, the court dismissed the request on the grounds that the Constitutional Council of France had previously upheld the law.

French authorities claim the law is needed over security reason and for the protection of the secular traditions of the country.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International has argued that the law infringes women’s "rights to freedom of expression and religion."

France is home to the largest Muslim population in Western Europe. Nearly ten percent of the 62 million people living in France are Muslim.

This week’s Islam & Life asks: What can be done about France’s anti-hijab environment?