Here is a look at legislation and debate about face-covering Muslim veils and Muslim headscarves in various countries:
_ FRANCE: France on Monday became the first country to enact a law designed to forbid face-covering veils such as the niqab or burqa anywhere in public. Violators risk fines or citizenship classes. A 2004 law bans Muslim headscarves and other "ostentatious" religious symbols from classrooms.
_ BELGIUM: The parliament passed a measure banning veils in 2010 but it has languished since the country has struggled to form a new government for the past several months. The mayor of Maaseik banned face-covering veils in 2004.
_ BRITAIN: The issue of full-body veils has largely faded from the spotlight since then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair called it a "mark of separation" in 2006. The coverings are more visible on the streets of London than many other European cities.
_ ITALY: Has a law requiring people to keep their faces visible in public, dating to Italy's crackdown on domestic terrorism decades ago. Representatives of Italy's Muslim community say it's rarely applied in the case of women wearing veils.
_ NETHERLANDS: The coalition government installed last year said it is aiming to ban the burqa, but has yet to present any concrete plans or draft legislation. A previous administration considered but abandoned legislation in 2006 for a total ban on Muslim veils, after lawyers said it would likely be unconstitutional.
_ UNITED STATES: There are currently no laws banning veils or headscarves in the U.S. There is a move in some states to ban Sharia law, though these attempts have not succeeded so far. The sponsor of such a bill in Oklahoma wanted to prohibit women from wearing headscarves in driver's license photos. Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in 2010 banned veils that obscure the face for security reasons, but later changed it to accommodate Muslim women.
_ TURKEY: Islamic-style headscarves and full robes are banned in schools and in government offices. A similar ban for university students was recently relaxed.
_ EGYPT: Egypt allows some institutions to pass partial bans on wearing the face veil where necessary, like in the armed forces. Universities have attempted to impose rules that ban women wearing the face veil during exams _ a notch up from a widely accepted procedure that demands women wearing the face veil reveal their face to a female official to confirm their identity before beginning exams. At least one institution, Cairo University, has banned one woman from teaching students while wearing a face veil.
_ TUNISIA: Headscarves and full veils are banned from public buildings and schools. After the longtime president was ousted in a popular revolt this year, some Islamist protesters have demanded that the rules be relaxed.
_ SYRIA: Syrian President Bashar Assad last week reversed a decision that bans teachers from wearing the niqab, the full Islamic veil that reveals only a woman's eyes. The move is seen an attempt to appease religious conservatives in the Sunni majority as Assad faces down a popular uprising challenging his authoritarian rule. The government had banned the veil in July 2010.
_ GERMANY: Several states in the country, which has a large Muslim immigrant community, have banned teachers from wearing headscarves in public schools. The state of Hesse decided in February to bar public employees from wearing face-covering burqas at work.
_ SWITZERLAND: Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said in 2009 the government could "study a possible ban" of face-covering veils if more Muslim women begin wearing them. She said they make her feel "uncomfortable."
_ SPAIN: Several Spanish towns have begun processes to prohibit the use of face-covering Islamic veils in municipal buildings but not in the street. There have been a handful of incidents involving schoolgirls wearing headscarves but they are not banned under any legislation.
_ AUSTRIA: There are no laws banning headscarves but Muslim community officials say women are at a disadvantage professionally if they choose to wear one. The far-right Freedom Party has slammed headscarves and face-covering veils saying they "promote the oppression of women" and last summer called for a referendum on the issue.