The French breathed a collective sigh of relief on July 1st when the European Court of Human Rights upheld the country’s 2010 ban on the wearing of full-faced veils in public places. It followed a separate ruling in June by a top French appeals court that a private day-care nursery was within its rights when it sacked an employee who refused to take off her Muslim headscarf at work. In France, such rules generate relatively little controversy. Yet they are often misunderstood in countries where liberal multiculturalism is the established creed. Why are the French so strict about Islamic head coverings?
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