“This case is about a religious radical: he imposes the burqa, he imposes the separation of men and women in his own home, and he refuses to shake the hands of women,” he said.
Debate over burqa
On Tuesday, Eric Besson, the immigration minister, said that during checks into the man’s application, he had explicitly stated that he would never allow his wife to leave the house without wearing a full veil and that he believed a woman is “an inferior being”.
The man’s name and nationality have not been made public, but Le Figaro newspaper said he came from Morocco and requires French citizenship to settle in France with his wife.
Fillon has said the man’s wife, who is French, could continue to wear the full-veil if she chooses, pending legislation.
The French government is seeking legal advice before drafting legislation that would outlaw the burqa or niqab in as many areas as possible.
The debate over whether full Islamic veils should be banned has raged in France since Nicolas Sarkozy, the president, said the burqa was “not welcome”.
There are concerns such moves would stigmatise the country’s Muslim population of around six million people.
Of those, only around 1,900 women wear the niqab or burqa.
On Monday the French Catholic Church warned the government against banning the veils, saying France must respect the rights of its Muslims if it wanted Islamic countries to do the same for their Christian minorities.