France's National Assembly is debating a law banning the wearing of face veils in public places. A vote is expected on July 13.

Last month, Michele Alliot-Marie, the French justice minister, presented a draft law to the cabinet, the first formal step in a process to forbid such attire in all public places in France.

It calls for a $185 fine and, in some cases, citizenship classes for women who run afoul of the law.

Supporters of the bill claim that face veils pose a security threat, are an insult to women's dignity, and a threat to a secular constitution.

Opponents say the move is a restriction on freedom of expression and a breach of human rights. 

Would the law isolate Muslims rather than integrate them into the French society? Is Europe becoming intolerant of Muslims or do face veils pose a serious security threat?

Joining the programme are Renaud Girard, the chief correspondent at Le Figaro newspaper, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International's expert on discrimination in Europe, and Khola Hasan from "the City Circle," a think-tank that pledges to promote the development of a distinct British Muslim identity.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Tuesday, July 6, 2010.

Source: Al Jazeera