A ban on the burqa is drawing nearer in France.
The French government says draft legislation to stop Muslim women wearing the full-length Islamic veil in public will be put before parliament in May.
The BBC reports the proposal has caused much division in French society.
A French government spokesman said President Sarkozy believed it was a question of protecting the position of women.:
The Ni Putes Ni Soumises feminist group said the new law would help to empower underprivileged women.
Belgian lawmakers are also set to impose a ban on wearing the burqa in public.
Three week ago, the home affairs committee of the federal parliament voted unanimously to endorse a nationwide ban on clothes or veils that do not allow the wearer to be fully identified.
The governing parties and opposition agree on the move and the full house is widely expected to endorse the draft law.