France: Christian and Jewish leaders warn against burka ban

The Catholic Church in France has advised the government not to ban full veils on Muslim women in the country, urging mutual respect between faiths. French Jewish leaders have also expressed concerns over the proposals.

Bishop Michel Santier said: "If we want Christian minorities in Muslim majority countries to enjoy all their rights, we should in our country respect the rights of all believers to practice their faith."

Pointing out that very few women in France wore full veils, he said if a law was passed banning them, "the result could be the opposite of what is desired and lead to a reaction that increases the number of women wearing this garment."

A  French parliamentary commission last week urged the National Assembly to pass a non-binding resolution condemning full veils and then work out a law banning them.

Bishop Santier appealed for: "A dialogue in truth among believers" which he said " will help us go beyond mutual mistrust."