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2008-06-27 - Council of State, Madame M., n.286798

Public space · France · Dress code

Denial of citizenship for a Muslim woman wearing a full-face veil

Key facts of the case - Madame M., a Moroccan woman, applied to acquire the French citizenship. If the applicant meets several conditions – included a good knowledge of the French language – this acquisition is automatic. Nevertheless, the Government may “on grounds of indignity or lack of assimilation other than linguistic” oppose the acquisition of French nationality by the foreign spouse within a period of one year, through passing a decree. The applicant asks for the annulment of this decree.

Main reasoning of the court - The appreciation of the degree of assimilation implies a detailed control of the applicant’s way of life. The Council of State confirms the government’s appreciation and deemed that the applicant has adopted a radical practice of her religion (she wears the niqab), incompatible with essential values of the French community, particularly the principle of sex equality. Therefore she does not meet the condition of assimilation entrenched in Article 21-4 of the civil code and the application should be overturned.

See the decision: Council of State, 27-06-2008, Madame M., n. 286798.