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Foreign Correspondent -

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CC to the glamorous First Lady From the breakthrough bombshell must-see woman of all, and of course that most intriguing, and they all call France home. they're all very famous faces So what do the French make of this? I am the victim. When you hide your face to somebody, the violence under the burqa Nobody wants to talk about to an animal. and how you are just reduced from the fashion capital of Paris - Tonight, What Not To Wear. to Foreign Correspondent. Hello and welcome I'm Mark Corcoran. Many women who wear the burqa their public commitment to Islam say it symbolises by their faith. and shows them to be empowered

has resolved But the French government of the oppression of women that the burqa is a symbol and has no place in France. a national dress code of sorts So it's about to enact the all-encompassing garment aimed at eliminating from its public places.

Emma Alberici has been in Paris, tangle between different cultures. unravelling this highly contentious

CAN-CAN PLAYS than the Moulin Rouge? Is there anything more French this quintessential French cabaret. Every night 1,700 people enjoy here for 120 years. They've been dancing the cancan The majority of people are impressed symbols of Paris. it's still one of the more famous who are chosen to grace this stage, For dancers like Axelle, of a childhood dream, it's the realisation inspired in part by her grandmother. in the audience Sometimes I can see some old people about my grandmother and I'm always thinking who was always working all her life was to come in Moulin Rouge and, like, her dream speaking about 50 years ago. because it was, we are for her. It was really too much expensive Along the banks of the Seine, and scanty costumes, away from the bright lights the showgirl is increasingly worried the female form. about clothing designed to cover up really it's a jail for me, I'm against the burqa,

I think that's the word. yeah, exactly, It's a jail. see their neighbourhood changing. Axelle, and her husband Aslan, the distinctive Islamic dress They're uneasy about they're seeing more and more.

to the French way of life. The way they see it, it's an affront What do you think they miss out on? You said to me you feel sad. If you're not happy with it, that you're in a country if you don't understand and liberty, you know, with a lot of freedom if you're not happy with it, in another country. just go wherever you want and growing Islamic community, France is grappling with a large now the biggest in Europe. is Muslim, 10% of the French population not just recent arrivals,

as French citizens - but many who are born and raised to cover up from head to toe. most obviously the women who choose thousand French women wear the burqa. It's estimated just a couple of inspired a big national controversy. It's a very small number, but they've estate in Evry, We've come to this public housing half an hour south of the city, and her family. to meet Soraya Khedrouche migrated from Algeria 15 years ago, Soraya and husband, Badris, who a modern French couple, consider themselves of five children. raising a thoroughly French tribe of society. You close yourself off to the rest Why do you do that? Catholic Church Chrystel Angelique, Born in France and christened in a

as a child and teenager. Soraya endured sexual harassment offering a stronger moral code She says she sought out a religion distress she converted to Islam and was just 18 when to her mother's and adopted a Muslim name. the full veil? The solution was to wear makes the French, so very ... Much of that "je ne sais quoi" that ..well, French,

is on display all over Paris. where women come every day, Like right here, to worship the gods of fashion really define who you are? But does what we wear so from now on, The government certainly thinks so, is embracing the values to make sure that everyone of freedom, equality and fraternity,

with a dress code. citizenship will come represents The number of women wearing the burqa of the population, a fraction of one per cent gave them special attention yet President Nicolas Sarkozy,

State of the Nation address. during his historic to deliver this declaration. He used the occasion APPLAUSE were a disaster for Sarkozy's party, Recent regional elections to the far right National Front. losing serious ground just win back some of those votes. Legislating to ban the burka might is a new phenomenon? is a genuine new phenomenon... Wearing the burka and the niqab In the parliamentary gardens, insists Sarkozy supporter Jacques Myard

with the French national identity. that the burka is at odds has broad cross-party support. Banning it now I am the victim. When you hide your face to somebody to see who you are I am because you refuse me and this is not acceptable. niqab is an affront to French values. You say that wearing the burka or Is freedom not also a French value? where the law says it. It is but the freedom stops that I will go naked in the street, If I decide myself, will you accept it? my individual liberty, No! Even if I claim that it is my individual freedom, so I think this is a false argument at collective will and individual liberties stop of willing to live together. the politicians Soraya Khedrouche would like to meet who want to tell her what not to wear and lecture them about freedom.

But even at Soraya's local Mosque in Evry there is no absolute freedom.

She isn't allowed to wear the face-covering veil here. The rector - Khalid Merroun - doesn't approve of it. He tells me the Islamic holy book, the Koran, makes it clear only that women should be discreet and cover their hair with a scarf known as the hijab. What do you think about the government's law to ban the scarf? Is Islam under attack from the French Government? In mosques across the country, tempers are rising over the proposed law. At Drancy on the other side of Paris, worshippers are deeply divided, because here the Imam has very publicly sided with the government. The mosque and its spiritual leader have around-the-clock police protection.

A group of worshippers are distributing a flyer calling for the sacking of the young, Tunisian-born Imam. Hassen Chalghoumi has been threatened with death, but says he won't be intimidated by those he calls extremists. So, how do you feel about the government's position on the burka, that they want to ban the burka? Soraya Khedrouche spends her Saturday mornings like any other French mother might - shopping. She wants the world to know that while she may look different to mainstream Parisians, underneath her black cloak she's just like everyone else. And now, after two days of being with us, she feels comfortable enough to reveal her eyes. Before marriage I have French friends and sometimes they talk to me "Why you don't like you are French?" Is that how you feel that you're not French anymore? No, I am French! What does it mean to be French? For me French identity, it's when I see the sport, Olympic Games, my heart with the French sportives, I see my husband, "What are you doing on the TV?" French people, French people, yeah. For Moulin Rouge showgirl Axelle the only reason to cover her head is for safety. The motorbike makes getting to work a lot easier. And this is what she loves about being French. That a woman can do and wear whatever she wants, or very little at all, and be admired and respected regardless. In France it's really an honour to be here. When I'm on stage, it's the best feeling, that's what I've worked for since I was eight. It's really why I'm waking up every day, it's really what I love,

it's giving so much energy. The Muslim woman that I've interviewed, she said in modern society, relationships are not respected? It's our culture. In our culture he's respecting me, I respect him. It's really the same with my husband as well - we are sharing everything, I'm never going to cheat on him. You say it like this, yes? It's not about religion or culture it's just about respect. IMAM PRAYS The Grand Mosque of Paris is a symbol of the long relationship between France and Islam. It was built by the government in 1926 as a gesture of thanks to the Muslims of the North African colonies who fought for France in World War I. After the Second World War, those people were invited here to help reconstruct the country. That wave of immigration helped deliver to France the biggest Muslim population in Europe. The faces at this citizenship ceremony tell the story of 21st Century France. There are now 6 million Muslims in a population of 60 million.

No burkas in this room, and that's not surprising given how some Muslim women react at the mere mention of the Islamic veil. So what do the niqab and the burka represent to you? A coffin! The ultimate oppression. Inhumanity. For me it's the last step - after that there is the end. Sihem Habchi, a French-Algerian Muslim, is the director of a group with a confronting name -

Neither Whores Nor Submissives. They meet every week in a hall in central Paris. They've heard their share of horror stories about Muslim women forced by men to wear the burka. Everyone talks about choice to wear the burka,

but nobody wants to talk about the violence under the burka and how you are just reduced to an animal sometimes,

you don't have, you know - you are treated as nothing. So who are those men - because it's men that decide that Islam is a religion that oppresses women. I'm sorry, I'm not agree. The Imam of Drancy believes that the burka represents fundamentalism. For him the world would be a better place

if every country was more like France and less like Afghanistan. This image of a Muslim couple from the Caucasus strikes a nerve with those in France who fear Islam.

With explosives strapped to her body, the 17-year-old woman and a veiled female friend blew themselves up last month on the Moscow subway, killing 39 strangers. 15 years ago Algerian terrorists bombed the Paris Metro. The intelligence service here suggests the strong links between Al-Qaeda and Algerian extremists represents an increasing danger to France. A burka ban would apply on public transport and even on the street. But legal advisors have warned that it may be unconstitutional in France and would be challenged in the European Union. Aren't you concerned that your proposed law will be rejected by the European Court of Justice? No, absolutely not. In fact we want the law to liberate those women because, in my view, they are almost in a ghetto, in a ghetto and they cannot mix with us people. Our aim is that those people become one day, if they want, citizens of this country. So they have to adopt the values but also the standards of living of our country. In fact, Soraya Khedrouche is a French-born citizen.

For her, French values are not incompatible with being a pious Islamic woman, just not as important. Missing the sun on her face and the wind in her hair is, she says, a small price to pay for a ticket to paradise. And in the paradise I have very nice hair, very nice dress, very nice everything. I am the best woman, you know, and I want that. I am sure. My life is for that. It's for eternity, I am sure. SOPRANO SINGS THE MARSAILLES Overwhelmingly though, French women do their living in the here and now. They're among the crowds in the Louvre who crane for a view of the most beguiling female face of all time. And they draw inspiration from the stoic and powerful female figures of French history - Marianne and Joan of Arc, all of whom fought for freedom. MUSIC SWELLS Emma Alberici and the collision of cultures in France. That's Foreign Correspondent for this week. Stay in touch with us at We're on Twitter and Facebook as well. Join us again soon next week when we'll have this for you. Goodnight. With terrifying force, the tsunami smashed its way inland, flattening vast tracts of Aceh and killing more than 170,000 people.

It was just so horrible and I would think about the people, the families, the people who might have been here and there was just nothing left, nothing. No sooner had the waves receded than aid poured in - billions of dollars pledged by governments and the public stunned by the scale of the devastation. These houses look liveable and yet they're empty, built for phantom villages in an uncordinated building boom. How did it happen,

that houses were built for people who don't even exist? Because nobody bothered to check. Nobody ever bothered to verify.

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This Program is Captioned Live. Live. Good evening, Adrienne Francis with Adrienne Francis with an ABC News helped get Kevin Rudd elected eeks and led to the demise of two Opposition Leaders but for at least three years because he can't get it because he can't get it through the Senate. Mr Rudd says the Senate. Mr Rudd says he's still committed to the idea his critics say he's scared. A 26-year-old Queanbeyan man Queanbeyan man has been convicted of Mrs Mrs. A convicted of Mrs Mrs. A jury found Benjamin Wayne Holcroft guilty of bashing guilty of bashing to death Danny Ralph and dumping his body in the Queanbeyan Investigators in Sydney are looking at what caused a walkway at a walkway at a private boys school to collapse. were hurt when the balcony were hurt when the balcony gave way. Union officials way. Union officials say poor construction is to blame. Matt Giteau could miss Giteau could miss the Brumbies vital game Queensland for criticising referee Steve Walsh. The ARU Super 14 governing body. More

news in an hour. Closed

Welcome to my adventure in the Far East. I'm here to discover not just the food, but what makes places like Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam tick. What's so special about Bali, Sri Lanka, Malaysia or Bangladesh? Well, the food of course, but beyond that it's the people. People talking about food, the greatest love in their life.