France's lower house of parliament Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a ban on any veils that cover the face - including the burqa, the full-body covering worn by some Muslim women.
The vote was 335 to 1. The measure must still go to the French Senate before it becomes law. The Senate is expected to vote on it in the week of September 20.
Amnesty International immediately condemned the vote. "A complete ban on the covering of the face would violate the rights to freedom of expression and religion of those women who wear the burqa or the
niqab in public as an expression of their identity or beliefs," said John
Dalhuisen, Amnesty International's expert on discrimination in Europe.