In 2009, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that the burqa was “not welcome” in France: “It is a sign of subjugation, of the submission of women,” he stated before the French Parliament.
Several hours ago, two Muslim women wearing full face veils were arrested within hours of the enforcement of France's burqa ban. The women were taking part in a demonstration against the new measure in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in central Paris.
Their arrests came two years after Sarkozy denounced the burqa and two years after the presentation of Couture abayas which was held at the George V hotel in Paris. John Galliano, Paule Ka, Jean-Claude Jitrois, Bruno Frisoni, Felipe Oliverai Baptista, Adam Jones, Anne Valérie Hash and Martine Sitbon all showed designer interpretations of the long, black coat that comprises the essential element of the burqa. This garment is now an enemy of France, a nation that espouses Liberte, Egalite and Fraternite, yet is uncomfortable with the torrential history it shares with former Muslim colonies.
Above: An 1842 Lithography work by James Rattray showing a Persian (Qizilbash) woman in Afghanistan with a burqa next to her.