"The concept of secularism or "laicite" is sacred in France.
The separation of church and state is jealously guarded by everyone from school teachers to government ministers - and the constitution states the republic "does not recognise, subsidise or remunerate any religious body".
It underpinned the French Revolution, and has been a basic tenet of the country's progressive thought since the 18th century when French Enlightenment thinkers like Voltaire, Diderot and Montesquieu regarded religion as divisive, benighted and intolerant.
It was this same concept that was invoked five years ago to ban conspicuous signs of religion - including Islamic headscarves - from schools.
That decision sparked controversy and debate across Europe, with critics claiming it stigmatised Muslims at a time when France needed to be stepping up its fight against rife discrimination in the job market, which had caused so many youths of Muslim origin to feel forgotten by French society.
This latest call for a potential ban of the burka has prompted the head of the French Council for the Muslim Religion to warn MPs they risk stigmatising Muslims again."
Here's one way to see it.
French is a secular country and it is free to decide what kind of attires it will accept for its society. In Iran and Saudi Arabia, women must wear headscarves at all times in public. It's their country and that's their rule so that's that. How about if you are not Muslim? Well tough luck. That's the rule of the country.
A burqa is one end spectrum in attire and a string bikini is on the other. They are both valid way to dress but only in the context of the society it is in. If you come to a Muslim country, respect the traditions and dress appropriately. If you come to a Western country, repect their traditions too and dress appropriately.
We have a saying in Indonesia, "Di mana bumi dipijak, di situ langit dijunjung" which literally translate to "Wherever ground is stood on, the sky is hold high". It means wherever we go, we must obvserve local custom.
This can be offensive, depending on the place
This too can be offensive, depending on the place.
Wear this in cities outside winter and you will be arrested or at least questioned.
Fine and dandy at least in Ethiopia Mursi tribes.