President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has spoken out strongly against the wearing of the burka by Muslim women in France.
He told a special session of parliament on Monday that the burka, a garment covering women from head to toe, reduces them to servitude and undermines their dignity.
Mr Sarkozy also gave his backing to the establishment of a commission to look at whether to ban the wearing of burkas in public.
Wearing of the veil is already outlawed in state schools in France.
Mr Sarkozy says the burka is not a sign of religion, but a sign of subservience.