• Face masks took centre stage at Paris Fashion Week amid COVID-19 fears. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
"French Muslim women are getting fined and arrested for the same."
Samuel Leighton-Dore

10 Mar 2020 - 12:58 PM  UPDATED 10 Mar 2020 - 1:01 PM

Social media users have pointed to the trend of face masks at Paris Fashion Week as evidence of hypocrisy from French leaders, after France became the first European country to impose a ban on full-face veils in public areas back in 2011.

Designer Marine Serre turned heads at Paris Fashion Week by sending models down the runway in high-fashion outfits with matching face masks.

Sharing a BBC article on France's face mask obsession, lawyer and graphic designer Namira Islam Anani observed the country's apparent double standard, writing: "And here I was told covering your face was objectively offensive and a security threat."

"Didn’t they ban the niqab??" One follower soon replied.

They added: "Now they are ok with covering the face!"

It has been illegal to wear face-covering veils or other masks in France's public spaces since 2011.

"The law is very clear. Hiding your face in public places is cause for imposing sanctions," Interior Minister Claude Guéant said during a 2011 EU meeting in Luxembourg. He argued that the ban defends "two fundamental principles: the principle of secularism and the principle of equality between man and woman."

The ban affects women who wear the niqab and the burka, with those caught by authorities facing fines upward of $259.

"We need to start selling niqabs at extortionate prices," one woman tweeted.

Another highlighted rapper Cardi B's full-body-covering floral outfit, worn in Paris last year, as evidence of a double standard in enforcing the country's law.

"Cardi B got away with this but Muslim women are getting fined & arrested for the same," Fatima Khan tweeted.

"They are also losing their jobs like being teachers and health care providers. They can also not access many Govt facilities because they choose to wear a hijab/niqab."


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