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    Pakistani Women Protest French Burka Ban


    by NTDTelevision

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    More than a hundred Islamic women stage a demonstration in Pakistan against France's ban on full face veils. Breaking the law can mean a fine or lessons in French citizenship.

    Scores of veiled women stage a rally in Karachi, Pakistan on Tuesday... denouncing a recent law in France that bans Islamic face veils in public.

    The controversial law, which came into force on April 11, prohibits people from masking their faces in public places.

    Protesters say the law infringes on women's religious practices.

    [Durdana Saleem, Protester]:
    "This is a discriminatory law which snatches away from a Muslim woman her right to the veil, which, she understands is a commandment from her creator. It holds with it her protection and her respect. This right is being taken away through this law."

    Five million Muslims live in France, but less than 2,000 women are believed to actually wear a full-face veil.

    The chief of Jamat-e-Islami, the majority Islamic party in Karachi, led the demonstration.

    [Mohammad Hussain Mehnati, Protest Leader]:
    "Today, we demand the United Nations, Organization of Islamic Countries and the Pakistani government that this ban is against human rights, against women's rights and against religious freedom. That is why we wish for them to take it up with the French government and make them end such bans."

    Breaking the law by wearing a Muslim burka in public carries a fine of $210 or lessons in French citizenship.

    Men who are found to force women to wear veils face substantially heavier fines.

    Pakistan is a predominant Muslim country where more than 90 percent of 160 million people practice Islam.