A report drafted by French parliamentarians will this week call for a ban on Afghan-style burqas and other garments that cover a woman’s face, The Times said Sunday.
The proposal, said the London-based newspaper's online edition, has strong public support. According to an opinion poll by Ipsos for the magazine Le Point, 57% of voters favor a ban while 37% are opposed, The Times reported.
"The recommendations of a parliamentary commission, to be published on Tuesday, are expected to include a bar on wearing full veils on public transport and in schools, hospitals and public-sector offices including post offices. The commission is thought likely to call for a total ban after further consultation," according to The Times.
Sarkozy opened debate on the topic in June, telling a special gathering of both houses of parliament that veils that cover the face "are not welcome" in France. He reiterated his position Wednesday, saying the full veil "is contrary to our values and contrary to the ideals we have of a woman's dignity."
According to The Times, he is reportedly reluctant to impose a total ban, saying he would prefer a national consensus on the issue. His centre-right party, the UMP, is divided, the newspaper said.
The head of Sarkozy's party said last week that he wants a law to ensure that Muslim women who wear face-covering veils do not acquire French nationality.
Xavier Bertrand, head of the conservative UMP party, said the full veil "is simply a prison for women who wear it" and "will make no one believe" a woman wearing it wants to integrate.
France has already passed a law banning Muslim headscarves from French classrooms in 2004. That law encompasses all "ostentatious" religious symbols so as not to appear to target Muslims and to get a green light from the Constitutional Council which reviews legislation.
The measure proposed last week by Jean-Francois Cope is presented as a security initiative.
AP contributed to the report