On Thursday the constitutional authorities in France ruled that a new law, which bans burqas and other facial coverings in public, is legal. This was the final decision needed for the ban to go into effect in the spring.
The facial covering ban was passed in both houses of the French legislature earlier this year.
Anyone caught wearing a face covering under the new law will face a 150 euro ($190) fine and a citizenship course. A person charged with forcing a woman to wear such a garment will have a heftier fine, 15,000 euro ($19,000). It has been deemed by the legislature that forcing the women to wear such coverings is considered enslavement.
Lawmakers say that it is not a matter of religion, but about the dignity and equality of both sexes.
A survey conducted previously found that the French people support the ban by a margin of four to one. 82 percent of the people support the ban, while only 17 percent are against it. Of other countries surveyed, people in Germany, Britain, and Spain back similar bans, and the U.S. public does not.
Amnesty International has spoken out against the ban, saying it is a violation of European human rights.
The ban does not cover the hijab and chador, which do not cover the face. It just applies to coverings such as the burqa and niqab, which cover the face.