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Muslim bride sues after order to remove veil

Clea Caulcutt · 10 Jan 2012, 09:41

Published: 10 Jan 2012 10:35 GMT+01:00
Updated: 10 Jan 2012 09:41 GMT+01:00

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A newly-wed Muslim couple are suing the mayor of Lyon after a local official insisted the bride remove her veil at the town hall wedding ceremony.

The bride, identified only as Nassima A., was asked to remove a veil which was covering her hair during her wedding ceremony at a town hall in Lyon in June.

"Nassima thought it was an order and did not think twice about removing her veil. She thought she had to do it to get married and took it off in front of everybody," says her lawyer Gilles Devers in an interview with the French daily Liberation. He says she felt humuliated during the ceremony.

The deputy mayor of Lyon’s 9th district, Fatiha Ben Ahmed, who asked the bride to bare her hair, told the bride that she looked "very pretty" without a veil.

The couple are now suing the mayor of Lyon Gérard Collomb and demanding €50,000 in damages. The mayor says he is ready to negotiate with the couple and admits Ben Ahmed could have been more sensitive during Nassima's wedding ceremony.

After the incident the local official Ben Ahmed said she had acted to defend the rights of women.

Story continues below…

In France, officials who conduct wedding ceremonies are required to check the identities of the bride and groom. However in this case, Nassima’s veil was not covering her face.

Clea Caulcutt (news.france@thelocal.com)

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