PARIS (AFP) - France could impose curbs on wearing the full Islamic veil if a parliamentary commission finds the burqa or niqab degrading for women, a government spokesman said Friday. A group of lawmakers is calling for a special inquiry into whether Muslim women who cover themselves fully in public undermine French secularism and womens rights. If it were determined that wearing the burqa is a submissive act, and that it is contrary to republican principles, well naturally parliament would have to drawn the necessary conclusions, said spokesman Luc Chatel. Asked whether that would mean introducing legislation, he said: why not. Communist MP Andre Gerin is spearheading the drive for a parliamentary panel that would look at ways to restrict the burqa. The deputy is also mayor of the southern city of Venissieux, home to a large north African immigrant population, where he says the sight of covered women is not a rare occurrence. Home to Europes largest Muslim minority, France passed a controversial law in 2004 forbidding girls from wearing veils in state schools as part of the governments drive to defend secularism. We are facing a major debate, Chatel told France 2 television. The spokesman voiced support for a parliamentary commission, saying: I think its important because it will allow us to have a better view of the issue. The proposal has won support from many politicians from both the left and right, but Frances Muslim council accused lawmakers of wasting time focusing on a fringe phenomenon. To raise the subject like this, via a parliamentary committee, is a way of stigmatising Islam and the Muslims of France, said Mohammed Moussaoui, head of the French Council for the Muslim Religion (CFCM). We are shocked by the idea parliament should be put to work on such a marginal issue, he said, saying lawmakers would do better to focus on the hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost in the economic crisis. A few thousand women wear the burqa in France, many of whom are French converts who chose to cover themselves to assert their faith, according to Le Figaro newspaper. Immigration Minister Eric Besson has warned against reigniting a row on the issue of Islamic dress, saying France has managed to strike a balance, and it would be dangerous to call that into question. If the lower house agrees to set up the commission, it would draft a report to be released no later than November 30, said Gerin.