The incident has now reached ministerial level.
On Friday, the Interior Minister requested the Immigration Minister look into revoking the French nationality of the driver’s husband as information he possessed showed the man was a polygamist married to four women with 12 children.
“Each of these women benefit from single parent benefits and … each one wears the full veil,” Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said in the letter seen by Reuters, adding he had asked the local authorities to look into possible benefit fraud.
“I would appreciate it, should these factors prove true, if you could study whether this individual could be stripped of the French nationality,” Hortefeux said, addressing Immigration Minister Eric Besson.
According to the woman’s Algerian-born husband acquired French nationality in 1999.
Shocker: French Muslims complain of feeling “stigmatized” after woman fined for driving with vision obscured by niqab
The rules of “rock-paper-scissors” are more grounded in reality: here, hurt feelings trump safety behind the wheel. Indeed, this case is so much like others in which practices in the Muslim world, or by Muslims who continue those practices in the West: You can’t criticize without apologists claiming the problem does not really exist even as it stares them in the face, and if you do, you cannotÂ possibly have any motive other than bilious, seething hatred.
Muslims in the French city where a woman was fined for driving in an Islamic veil complained of being stigmatised by the affair as the political repercussions rumbled on.
With the government planning to ban the full Islamic veil in public, the fining of the French woman took a political turn when a minister threatened to punish her muslim husband for offences including polygamy.
‘The muslims of Nantes… are worried by this systematic stigmatisation which goes against the values of the Republic,’ the collective of Nantes mosques said in a statement.
There may be a certain urgency here to deflect attention from the practice of polygamy — that could be an entirely new proverbial can of worms, alongside the ongoing issue of the niqab. And there’s no better diversionary tactic than claiming victim status as loudly and as often as possible.
And, how about those “values of the Republic?” Does “liberty” apply only to the freedom to adhere to Islamic law? And how do “fraternity and equality” among Muslims and non-Muslims fare under Sharia?
The association ‘considers that the stopping of a driver is a judicial procedure and is angry at how such an event has been turned into being all about Islam.’
The woman has challenged the fine as a breach of her human rights.
Ah, yes. The fundamental, inalienable right to drive a large, heavy, and fast-moving piece of machinery while half-blind.
President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government said last week it would push ahead with a ban on wearing a full-face veil in public, despite a warning from state legal experts that such a law could be unconstitutional.
In this context, the Nantes incident gained political momentum and dominated the news this weekend.
France’s interior minister, Brice Hortefeux, alleged the woman’s husband may belong to a radical group and may be a polygamist with four wives and 12 children and guilty of welfare fraud. […]
The deputy mayor of Nantes, Socialist lawmaker Jean-Marc Ayrault, said the state authorities had known about the polygamy allegations for some time.Â ‘Why are they pretending just now to have discovered the situation? he said.
The state prosecutor in Nantes, Xavier Ronsin, said that so far no charge had been lodged against the husband but an investigation could be launched if there were grounds to suspect fraud.
Mr Hortefeux wrote that the husband was born in Algeria and acquired French nationality by marrying the woman in 1999.
Polygamy, being married to more than one person at the same time, is a jailable offence in France, but only civil marriages conducted by a state official count – not religious marriage ceremonies.
It was not clear whether the veiled woman’s husband was joined to his other alleged wives by civil marriage or by religious rites such as Muslim weddings.
As to whether the man could be stripped of his French nationality, a source close to the investigation said that French law allowed this only in the case of serious crimes against the state such as terrorism, not for polygamy.
Naturalised citizens can however have their nationality revoked if they are found to have obtained it fraudulently.