- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 13, 2010

PARIS (AP) — France’s lower house of parliament has approved a ban on burqa-like Islamic veils, a move that is popular among French voters despite serious concerns from Muslim groups and human rights advocates.

There were 336 votes for the bill and just one against at the National Assembly. Most members of the main opposition group, the Socialist Party, refused to participate in the vote.

Following Tuesday’s vote, the ban on face-covering veils will go in September to the Senate, where it also is likely to pass. Its biggest hurdle will likely come after that, when France’s constitutional watchdog scrutinizes it.

The main body representing French Muslims says face-covering veils are not required by Islam, and it worries that the law will stigmatize all Muslims.