France | France Makes Headlines with Ban on Headscarves and DSK Scandal
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France Makes Headlines with Ban on Headscarves and DSK Scandal
In April 2011, France banned the wearing of full veils in public, becoming the first European nation to impose the restriction. The ban caused protests in Paris and several other cities. The new restriction has many Muslims worried about their rights as French citizens. Covering the face is considered by some Muslims as a religious obligation. Supporters of the ban view it as necessary to preserve French culture and to combat what they claim are separatist actions in Muslims.
On May 14, 2011, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and a leading political figure in France, was arrested for sexually assaulting a maid at a Manhattan hotel. Strauss-Kahn was removed from an Air France Plane at Kennedy International Airport and taken into custody. On May 18, he resigned as managing director of the IMF. Strauss-Kahn was expected to announce his candidacy for the French presidency soon. He had been considered a favorite to oust President Nicolas Sarkozy. A grand jury indicted him on multiple charges, including committing a criminal sex act, attempted rape, and sexual abuse. Reaction in France was a mixture of anger, disbelief, and embarrassment, with polls showing that most people thought he was set up.
On July 1, 2011, Strauss-Kahn was released from house arrest. Prosecutors, who initially believed they had a strong case, acknowledged that the accuser has credibility issues. The hotel maid accused Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault in May. Since then she has admitted to prosecutors that she lied about what happened after the incident. In her initial statement she said that after the assault, she waited in a hallway for Strauss-Kahn to leave the room, but later admitted that she had cleaned a nearby room and his room before reporting the incident. The woman also reportedly lied about her income to qualify for housing as well as the number of children she has to increase her tax refund.