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April 10th, 2011
01:19 PM ET

France's controversial burqa ban takes effect

Paris (CNN) - French police arrested two veiled women protesting the country's law banning face-hiding Islamic burqas and niqabs Monday, just hours after the legislation took effect.

The arrests outside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris were not for wearing the prohibited garments. Police say the women were instead arrested for participating in an unauthorized protest. But the incident reflected the high passions the ban has incited among some Muslims.

One woman who disapproves of the ban said no one forces her to wear the niqab, a full-face veil with an opening for her eyes, and she should be left alone.

"I've not committed a crime," said Hind Amas, who was not among those arrested. "I'm walking peacefully in the street. I've not attacked anyone."

Read about American women who wear Islamic headscarves

The ban pertains to the burqa, a full-body covering that includes a mesh over the face, as well as the niqab.

The hijab, which covers the hair and neck but not the face, and the chador, which covers the body but not the face, apparently are not banned by the law.

Read about two Tennessee sisters who wear the hijab

"The ban does not target the wearing of a headscarf, head gear, scarf or glasses, as long as the accessories do not prevent the person from being identified," the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Read the full story about France's burqa ban taking effect
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Europe • France • Islam

soundoff (1,962 Responses)
  1. Nomo Muzdis

    Good for France...and Switzerland too. We need more "God" back in our US schools, state govt and US govt. The Islam religion is a shameless, misguided mess and has to be put in its' place. Go back to your grass roots countries and enjoy whatever you want but get out of Europe and the US.

    April 25, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  2. DesertHawk12

    As an American, I find that this attack on religous expression is awful. The genius of our country is that we accept others, no matter how different they may seem. Forcing others to abandon their culture is not the way to secure a great country. Our recipe here in America, which has been so successful, is based on blending, not coercion and not conformity. Personally, I have friends who are Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Mormon, Catholic, Protestant, Atheist, Jewish, or of no particular belief at all and I celebrate our 'Americaness' together!

    April 18, 2011 at 5:32 am |
  3. Socram

    Its a shame most of you get so heated at the mere mention of religion you become so blinded to the real issue. Frankly, the government extending its scope of power to include controlling what you can and cannot wear. You may not be upset that today Burkas are being banned, but know that you have given your consent for the government to wield this power now. As the son of parents who today live in political exile from communist Cuba I can only implore you of the dangers of not limiting government. This is a threat to free men everywhere.

    "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." -BF

    April 16, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
  4. Mark

    France is the only country so far to stand up to the Muslims. It's time for more countries, including America, to take a stand against Muslims who want western society to change to accommodate Muslim beliefs. I'm Christian and I have no intention to convert to Muslim beliefs or their religion, which is what they want.

    April 14, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
  5. Dan

    It's not even practical to allow everyone to have what they think should be a right. Every society has a right to determine what should be a right (limited or fundamental) for the good of the majority in that society. If wearing a burqa is not a requirement in Islam then I don't get why one would break the law just to wear it, regardless of whether it's a good law or not. Personally I would only break a particular law iff it denies ME a fundamental right such as the right to life, the freedom of speech, worship, etc. For any other "bad law" I would protest peacefully and legally. Now that's democracy and it's also wisdom. Tolerance is not just giving the minority what they "want", it's also the minority being able to forego what they
    want, for the good of those around then- we should try to strike a balance between the two. As I've said, I may not agree with all the laws in my country but I adhere to those that don't deny me my Basic Fundamental rights. Given the "right" opportunity, I would protest and voice out my opinion peacefully and legally. If my right threaten s another persons rights, then I cannot be allowed to have it. When two rights go against each other, the majority have to have their way. That's why for example, elections are won by majority; because most times there can only be one winner.

    April 13, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  6. Dan

    It's not even practical to allow everyone to do what they think should be a right. Every society has a right to determine what should be a right (limited or fundamental) for the good of the majority in that society.
    If wearing a burqa is not a requirement in Islam then I don't get why one would break the law just to wear it, whether or not it's a good law. Personally I would only break a law a law that makes me break the requirements of my religion. For any other "bad law" I would protest peacefully and legally. That's what we call democracy and that's what we call wisdom. Tolerance is not just giving the minority what they "want", it's also being able to forego what you want, for the sake of those around you- let's try to strike a balance between the two. As I said, I don't agree with all the laws in my country but I adhere to those that don't deny me my Basic Fundamental rights. If given the "right" opportunity, I would protest and voice out my opinion.

    April 13, 2011 at 1:48 am |
  7. all muslims suk cox and a ll a h is a pedophile

    a l l a h is a freaking pedophile

    April 12, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • Texasnative

      LOL your comment passed moderation. How...How did you do that? Is it possible that you are a /b/tard? If you aren't you should be. I am impressed.

      April 12, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
  8. Pb

    Ok. Shouldn't they ban the balaclava too?

    April 12, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  9. Alfred

    Once again France leads the way to the light. Thank you France.

    April 12, 2011 at 10:12 am |
  10. USNavySquid

    Beyond mere intolerance, its a step towards fascism. All because the majority are uncomfortable with the minority. It has nothing to do with public safety. If those law makers had ever felt unsafe standing in line at the P. O. with a woman in a burka and niqab, then they should get counseling, not write a new law forbidding the cause of their irrational fear.

    April 12, 2011 at 6:18 am |
  11. Michael

    Standing up for what you believe in is a commendable thing. But, if you don't like the laws of the land you live in, move to where the laws fit what you believe. To quote a song from the 80s, "if you don't like what you see here, get the funk out!"

    April 12, 2011 at 5:34 am |
  12. TheId

    I bet they is hot and naked under dem der burkas.

    April 12, 2011 at 5:21 am |
  13. SYR

    France should only take that law back, when Saudi Arabia allows churches in their country. Muslims should respect the laws of where they live, if they don't like it, it's their problem.

    April 12, 2011 at 5:11 am |
  14. Muhammad

    At one end France has attacked a muslim country Libya to quench the thirst for Oil and on the other end pressurizing muslims of own country to get more financial support from International body headed by Zoins.

    April 12, 2011 at 3:50 am |
    • angela

      not everything is over oil, get over yourself. When innocent people who want freedom are rebeling against a tyrant, others must step in to protect them. Dictatorships are only good for the dictator and his followers!

      April 22, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  15. Yousaf

    Neglecting behavior toward religion leads to adultery. I am sure like in Islam, Jews or Christian women are not allowed to strip down to be almost naked. If a women is covering herself she is doing something good not just for herself but for the society as well.

    April 12, 2011 at 3:20 am |
    • angela

      Someone sounds brainwashed! Adultery is not caused by being able to show your body; immoral decisions cause that. I would never commit adultery and I am a FREE American woman who doesn't have to cover every portion of my body because I have been repressed by barbaric men. The two are NOT related, learn the scientific process before inferring ignorant beliefs...ohh, yeah, that is right, people would actually have to be educated to form a scientific thought...that is another problem in some of these countries, woman cannot even read books in some areas. Why is that? Most educated women will not put up with repression and abuse!

      For national security and protection, everyone's face should be reveiled. Criminals can hide under the cover for years; if you don't like the law that could potentially protect thousands, then move to a country where it is common and where you have to deal with people who are so filled with hate that they have blown up elementary schools out of the name of "Allah"! All they are asking is to remove the face cover, not the head or body cover. If a man sees your face or you show your face and that "leads" you to adultery, maybe you should be questioning how strong your faith is, if you could sway that easily.

      April 22, 2011 at 8:26 am |
  16. PREMAL D.SHAH

    If a white or for that matter any woman goes to a muslim country, she is supposed to cover her head. So what's wrong if we ask Muslim women to remove their head gear? We are not asking them to strip to their under wear, if they are wearing any at all. Muslims world wide need to know that if they insist on behaving like this, they should go and live in Iran or amongst the Al Queda so that they can fully obey the dictates of fanatic muslims. On one hand these women want freedom and move to other countries and than they want to dictate the terms on which they want to live. Muslims, go home...wherever that is.

    April 12, 2011 at 3:20 am |
    • Eugene

      I'm pretty sure that if you stick in the Foreigner's district then you dont have to put on head gear. At least, in the major cities of Saudi Arabia

      April 12, 2011 at 3:40 am |
    • Eugene

      I'm pretty sure that if you stick in the Foreigner's district then you dont have to put on head gear. At least, in the major cities of Saudi Arabia.

      April 12, 2011 at 3:41 am |
    • USNavySquid

      Not all countries in which Islam is the official religion require all women to cover their heads and faces. Bahrain, UAE and Qatar do not. Locals and foreigners in these countries wear whatever they want. Except depictions of Allah and Mohammed of course.

      April 12, 2011 at 6:22 am |
  17. C4N4D14N

    The only reason these women wear burqas is because their husbands beat them if they don't. They don't want their women to become like western or european women. This law should spread to the US, Canada, and the rest of Europe. Its for their own good, even though they don't even know it.

    April 12, 2011 at 3:19 am |
  18. nasir

    It is very logical. If you are in public, your face should be visible. You cannot cover your face and claim that it is part of your religoin. You can be a criminal covering your face. If you don't like the law, move to a place where it is permissible.

    April 12, 2011 at 2:57 am |
    • Mike

      I fully agree. How about a new "religion" that has a rule ordering the men of the religion to wear a ski mask when they enter a building. These "religious" nutcases need to progress a few hundred years. There just isn't room for the head covers in society, and it strikes me as odd that a religion would ever be ok with making others uncomfortable. Just doesn't seem "Godly."

      April 12, 2011 at 4:29 am |
    • Wayne

      Thank's for the info. I haven't been to my casting call yet, it is next Friday the 16th at Spartanburg SC!I need avdcie on a couple other things! I'm going to take a couple of prop's with me to use in part of my audition, Has anyone else used prop's before & did they help or a waste of time & trouble???Also, Spartanburg SC, is kinda small especially compared to the other big cities.They don't have big ordeals like the BB casting call in our areas much, so I'm assuming lot's of people will show up.I watched 7 on your side last night & they were talking about the casting call on there & they have been advertising it on news channel 7. At first, I thought about going the night before and just camping out on the sidewalk or whatever just so I could be one of the first ones in! Then, I thought about leaving around 3a.m. in morning & going{I live in Gaffney, SC-Home of the Big Peach!} It,s about 30 minutes away.Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Oh, and has anyone ever heard of Gaffney? please comment back!!!Alway's glad to hear from my BB BUDDIES!!! ANGELWINGS

      October 10, 2012 at 1:57 am |
  19. Sai Ram Nilgiri

    It is really time for Muslims to respect the norms of a country that they wish to stay in. All foreign women who go to Saudi Arabia and who dont wear the burqa can be caned by the religious police. In fact there is no freedom for them to even consider removing the burqa in public. So where are the rights of these people? France shows a civilised process in dealing with those who do not conform. Terrorists can cover up and walk with bombs under. I just think it has to be repositioned as a security aspect. And those who do not like what France has passed as law, go to a country that you will be comfortable in. Islam preaches tolerance. Show it first before you expect the same.

    April 12, 2011 at 2:10 am |
    • John

      Yes, since so many terroists walk around with bombs on their FACE.
      The problem with this is that it is a blantant attack on the religious freedom of France, as stated by their own prime minister. I would have thought such a civilized nation like France would be above this. I just hope the US does not follow suit.

      April 12, 2011 at 3:08 am |
    • Abbas

      Sai, Saudi Arabia is a country that hardly sets a positive example on antyhing. It is an uncivilized, backward, extremely repressive society. If that is what France is too, then your comparision is justified. If not, then pls appreciate the freedom of ALL to practice their religion as it should be practiced.

      April 12, 2011 at 5:55 am |
  20. bigpklovin'

    dissent is the highest form of patriotism way to stand up for what you believe in Hind Amas, and all you conformists are little wussbags cuz you dont have half the courage to stand up for something

    April 12, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • D. Zarr

      I want to see dissent from the women who live in the Islamic World not in the west, where they know the law protects them, or when their husbands and their little communities will view them favorably if they DO put on the Burqa.
      Men like you are losers and lack of confidance when they put their beautiful women behind the veil;
      If god(or what ever you call him) made a woman, why is it your job to hide her? Don't you trust god that he knows what he's doing?
      Free the women!
      Imbecile.

      April 12, 2011 at 5:44 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.