MUSLIM scholars and intelligentsia in the city termed French President Nicolas Sarkozys comment on burqa as undemocratic and irresponsible, reports The Times of India. Reacting sharply to Nicolas Sarkozys description of burqa as a sign of subservience, Islamic scholar Zeenat Shaukat Ali said, It is astonishing that the president of a country has made such an undemocratic and irresponsible statement. Personally, I feel that burqa is more about culture than religion, but that doesnt mean that Muslim women should be denied the right to wear a burqa or hijab. Muslim scholars said that they were shocked by the manner in which Sarkozy has sought to denigrate burqa. Islamic scholars across the world have unanimously held that burqa is a religious symbol because it protects womens modesty. The women have been asked to maintain modesty by the Holy Quran and the Hadith (Prophets traditions), said Maulana Abu Hassan Nadvi Azhari. Elaborating Islams emphasis on maintaining modesty, Maulana Azhari said Muslim women are required to observe 'purdah before a man who is not her relative even if he happens to be blind. Uzma Naheed, Director of Iqra Foundation, a socio-educational movement, dismissed Sarkozys comment as gross ignorance about Islam and its values. Meanwhile, the French National Assembly decided Tuesday to set up a fact-finding inquiry into the number of Muslim women who wear the burqa, after Sarkozy spoke out against the full Islamic veil. Sarkozy said the burqa was not a sign of religious faith but a sign of womens subservience that is not welcome in France. The lower house of parliament was responding to a call from a group of lawmakers, many of whom are from Sarkozys right-wing UMP party, for a panel to look at ways of restricting the wearing of the burqa. Speaker Bernard Accoyer said 32 lawmakers from right-wing and leftist parties will be examining the thorny issue for six months before making recommendations.