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
About this blog
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.
If a women goes to Iran and wears no head cover she will be arrested and God only knows what they will do to her. So why not when in France do as they want you to do.
There are a lot of misguided posts here. Specifically, this does not pertain to religious freedom. Muslims can continue to practice their faith. Even fellow Muslims state wearing a burqa is not mandated by the Quran. This is a cultural issue and political issue. Islam is waging a cultural war in Europe by imposing their culture on the host country's culture and not trying to assimilate into their adopted country. This is different than immigration to the US in the early part of last century. People kept their ethnicity but attempted to assimilate into American society. Congratulations to France for trying to protect their culture while allowing freedom of religion.
Why Muslims demand freedom when is the first thing they hate! You have no right demanding something in a foreign country...move back to your dusty a** land!
And don't forget to take your religious head dress and face covering off before you get to the airport. They don't allow that either!
My new religion makes it so that I need to wear a skimask in public. Wonder how long before I get shot trying to go into the bank.
If the fear is that explosive devices can be hidden in a burqa, they can be hidden in any type of clothing or accessories. How many explosive devices have been put in bags, boxes, etc. We are becoming a very paranoid world.
Muslim terrorist started this and your fellow muslims brothers and sisters need to figure out how to end it also!!
True, but an eye witness can identify the criminal who hid an explosive device as you mentioned. If the perpatrator had their face covered, then not so much.
Yes, put us into concentration camps. It's where we belong, right? We are the cause of all your problems, why not blame us for the economic crisis while you're at it. It's the 1930's all over again, but this time it's the Muslims and not the Jews that are the scapegoats in this story. Why not do what Serbia did, and kill all the Muslim men in the town. Freedom of religion! HAH! Why don't we just rip up the first amendment so we can get these banning laws through, right?!!!
This has nothing to do with practicing your faith. Show me where it is mandated in the Quran that women must wear a burqa.
US Economic downfall started with Muslim folks attacking our country on 9/11. So what do say about that?
I am usually a little on the liberal side, and quite tolerant for the most part. I do believe that the motivation for this ban is security related. I can see how, in order to further one's agenda, one may insist that security is not the issue and that it is RELIGIOUS FREEDOM which is under attack, however, as other's have stated far less politely, if you do not agree with the laws in a certain country, you most certainly have the FREEDOM to leave that country at your own will. Oh, and I bet they will ask you to remove any head or face covering attire at the airport, be it religious clothing or otherwise...
Can't wait to see this happen in USA
Hatred towards islam and muslims in general is getting out of control in this country. You can not target an entire group of people because of a few rotten apples. Wow, what has happened to us this past decade? And again, I am a Christian and do not believe in "allah" but I do know RIGHT AND WRONG. Stop this hatred before it's too late and we are judged in accordance to judging others. understand?
How is it hatred? Wearing a ski mask (and it doesn't matter what religion you are) in a bank immediately wratches up the tension? Why, because you can't IDENTIFY the person committing the crime, so an eye witness, at best, could only identify the eyes, especially if they hand a note and not say a word (thus eliminating voice as a possible identification). We live in a society where you are innocent UNTIL proven guilty, not the other way around. With burqa's, can you honestly tell me that you would be able to identify someone in a line up (after taking off the head piece of course for neutrality). If you can, with similar build/height/weight women (or perhaps even a man since some can probably mask themselves since the full garb makes it very hard to determine which), then I call BS on you. Sorry, but it's a matter of public security, not religion. No one is saying they can't pray, eat only certain foods, etc. and it's not mandated by the Koran/Quran. Personally I applaud France for the law. Securing citizens should be in the forefront of every country's mindset and not making an exception for every single perosn in the country. If that was the case, no law would really ever get passed.
put those rotten apples in a barrel and see what happens the clean won't make them all better. big rats produce little rats and there are too many little vermin in the world today. time for Rev.17:15-17 (the harlot= all false religion)(wild beast= gov't) keep on the watch!!!
Yeah...Yeah...Yeah...blah blah blah. Them first!
There is a targeting to this specific group because of their tendency to suicide bomb and kill many innocent civilians. I don't see Mormons going door to door taking out houses, Christians using children and women to sacrifice themselves, or Jews flying planes into buildings. I am not being racist just pointing out facts.
The burqa is NOT a religious article of clothing. The Koran does not mandate it. Egypt has banned on it for decades. Some Muslim nations have only recently required it when religious extremist took power. The Burqa is a stone age misogynist symbol that Muslim women are required to wear or accept beatings/mutilations.
In a civilized society that believes all citizens are equal regardless of race or gender, the burqa is as repugnant in modern society as slavery shackles.
Jane Saint – I agree with you regarding the ban and the fact that burqa is NOT required by Islam. But I disagree that it is worn for fear of beatings and mutilation, at least not for the vast majority of the burqa wearing women. I have seen them and even know some of them. It is only because they have been (falsely) led to believe that by doing so they are following Islamic law and tradition, when the facts are contrary.
It is sad to see so many hateful comments here. I as a Muslim agree with the ban in order to bring these women out of the dark ages. I understand the security issue, but I really don't think that is the underlying reason for the ban. All those commenting that they would be killed if they brought a bible or practiced Christianity in the Middle East at plain naive, wrong, or purposefully misleading. There are a LOT of Christians in the middle east and they are free to practice their faith. There are churches, and countries like Eqypt, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, all have large and very old christian populations. A westerner may be fearful these days, but that is more due to the political struggles rather than their faith. Understand the difference between political and religious conflict, don't lump then together.
Some people want to make this a religious thing. But in practicality, we (most of the world that is) live in a world of laws and most of those laws involve eye witness accounts when it comes to crime. If you have 10 people with similar builds and heights and one of them happened to steal someone, could you 100% identify that one person in a line up (assuming they took off the burqa)? Probably not. I think that's more of what they are trying to do in being able to identify someone. Sorry if that offense someone's religion, but tough. We shouldn't cater to one religion, especially in the US. If, as a society, we deem that for crime prevention and identification purposes that was the right way to go, then I'd be all for it. I'm not infringing on anyone's right for Islam, but if they feel that way, I can certainly poing them to kayak.com and help them understand how to use the internet to book a one-way trip to a country where they can where their burqa.
This is funny because France has the second highest population of Muslims in Europe. But it is a sad day when France shows more balls than the US. The US could learn a few things... like attempts to protect your citizens and staying with your own cultural roots isn't always a bad thing. Good for you France two thumbs up.
I agree! Why is it 'racist' to promote your cultural roots? AND we need to protect our citizens from extremists. If you allow the burqa, that will be their shield when attacking – just as they HAVE been doing in Afganistan.
I think we should join France. These burqa's can and are being used in suicide bombings and attacks. If the Muslims don't like the ban – they can leave France.
Finally they get very much needed D vitamin after producing several oinks.
It's about time France grew some balls. I am not a conservative but I agree with this and faith or religion has nothing to do with this law.
I love how the Muslims want tolerance but their culture is so against it. If you want to wear a burqa and be treated like a third class citizen, go live in a Muslim country where you have no choice.
I say STOP wearing the STUPID blanket over you! lol
Maybe the French should start banning other religions gears as well i.e. orthodox Jews. They look ridiculous with their clothings. Freedom should be with the people; I thought that should be a given in all the Western countries. Singling out one religion, you're only asking for trouble.
France is a Christian country genius! Why the hell they should banned Christianity!! Move the hell out if you dont like it!
Does the jewish clothing cover a face as to make it harder to identify in a crime situation? And if you don't think criminals would use this as a way to further their illegal ways, you're just plain naive.
if christians go to muslim countries and try to enforce extremist belief they would be beheaded. So yet again muslims are so double standard.
Yep, youre an idiot~~
When that one "religion" is causing bodily harm to the people of France (terroristic threats, etc.), then France has the right to do whatever it wants to do to protect itself. If Muslims don't like that law, they are free to go back to Muslim countries that understand them. they have no one to blame but themselves. If non radical Muslim's condemned the radical Muslims in their midst then there would be no fear or concern for what they wear. However, they do not. They live with the consequences of their own (non) actions.
Tell me why I get singled out when I carry a bible with me when I go to Middle East Countries? Do i have rights to carry bible? Does that harm anyone? Can I do anything about it? NOTHING. Will i rant about it? NOPE. I know the fact that the country dont allow it. So I take as the law of country and move on.
France has every right to proceed with the ban as a majority christian country. There are not a lot of French who ask immigrant muslims to move to France! Those muslim immigrants should respect the majority of the country they are immigrating because they are not the indigenous citizens. It must be a conspiracy among muslims to move to non-muslim countries and start imposing their muslim way of life and sharia. I have not heard of a lot of french immigrants going to muslin countries imposing their practices because if there are and they do; they will be shot by a repressive muslim government. Example: Iran and Syria.
@Joel: No, France is a secular country, and you cannot attend public schools or work in the administration and show exterior signs of reilgious affiliation. It has been that way since WWII, France has its own particular history and is a ferociously SECULAR country...
My understanding is that the full face covering is not a requirement of the Koran – but rather an oppressive custom of the early 1st millennium. That being the case – the ban is correct. Even in the case of personal beliefs, though, I am very uncomfortable with overbearing males indoctrinating females into submission, which I feel is the case with Islamic extremists. As an aside – it is interesting to note that Christian extremists also attempt to proscribe what the females connected with them can wear, despite no such biblical requirement.
I am a Muslim and I agree with the ban. There is nothing in Islam that requires women to wear burqas and to cover their faces. The hijab is what is according to Islam and that is not banned. Think Catholic nuns, they are required to cover their bodies and head – hijab is very similar. That said, it is up to a woman to decide whether she wants to wear the hijab. But face covering burqas are a sign of lack of education and male domination, and if it takes law of the land to get these backward people to change then so be it. I grew up in Pakistan and know the mentality of burqa wearing women. Believe me they are not very educated and their men have chauvinistic egos as big as their brains are small. I would vote for banning burqas in all countries, including Islamic countries. Somehow we have to get these people to come out of the darkness. Don't misinterpret what I am saying, there are millions of well educated Muslims who do not agree with the burqa. Only a minority of Muslims in the west are burqa wearing, and we have to bring them into this century.
This is insane. I'm sorry. Since when does France live in a "bare-headed" manner? Since now? It's just incredible that France feels the need to further oppress women (and ONLY women) who are oppressed enough within their own religion. It's a matter of security? Well, seems like a man or a woman could wear a ski mask in France and still be "kosher." The problem France has with the burqa and niqab is that they are religious coverings. They have a lot of nerve doing this to their former colonies (for anyone who didn't know: France used to have colonies in Africa, many of which are now Muslim but retain strong ties to France). Compare French actions to those of England, a country feeling no need to oppress immigrants coming from their former colonies (e.g., a large population of India is Muslim).
I often defend France, but absolutely cannot on this issue. It hurts those who are hurt the most already by their own culture.
oppressed women, you must be talking about Muslims. DOn;t like the laws move back to the mideast. How many woman in Iran can dress the way they want. Your argument and point are completely empty
If you dont like the rule of law of a country, then you have right to go back to the Country of Origin. Do not start your rant and cry about this. This is absolute nonsense to hear aproar about the ban. I am very happy to hear the good news and would recommend other countries to enact law like that.
And England is now in terrible trouble from immigrants. Thw West has got to stand up or die. This is about freedom–ours in our own lands, not theirs in our lands.
So interesting that all those dismissing my posts lack the ability to write intelligible English.
They want them to assimalate into the french community and not be oppressed by intolerant religions views on women. FYI men keep women in burqas as a form of opression.
And now England is being taken over by the immirant population. They are forcing their will upon the British government and they are caving. Soon non muslims will be oppressed in England. Than will you be upset?
I'll be upset when I hear of non-Muslims being oppressed, yes. I don't take such things lightly. But I used to live in the UK and did not notice non-Muslims being oppressed, though I did notice a lot of racism predicated on the fact that non-Muslims *might* be oppressed sometime in the hazy future.
In France, no one is allowed to walk around with their face concealed. Exceptions: Ski masks in the mountains and a motorcycle helmet on a motorcycle – and you can't walk into a gas station, bank, school or anywhere else without removing it.
You also cannot wear a cross around your neck or show any other sign of religious belonging when in schools and government buildings.
France is "laïque", meaning a totally secular country. There you have 3 dimensions of the question. You must be recognizable when in public, outward signs of religious appartenance are limited, and there is a very strict division of church and state.
Man, bleeding hearts like you make me want to puke!! Simple – if one does not like the law how it stands in France then one has the choice to leave. Don't you think the lawmakers thought long and hard about this? I suppose you are sooo much smarter than they are. Jeeezzzz!!!!!!!!!!!!
I haven't forgotten that after the Columbine shooting people at local high schools wanted to ban trenchcoats. Forgive me for wondering why Muslim women disturb France so much. There are a million other ways for someone committing a crime to disguise themselves.
So, A.K., what do you think would happen to me if I went to the middle east wearing daisy dukes and a halter top? Would I have the freedom to do that? Probably not. Huh.
Some peoples' grammar isn't that good, because a lot of these people posting are probably not American. This is affecting the whole world right now. Things may suck where you're originally from, but to live in another country, regardless of faith, gender, or race, is a privilege. They have their own rules and own tolerances. It is not your right to gripe. If you don't like the rules, then move on. It's not your country. The fact that Muslims are trying to impose and overtake each country has led to this ban. Not fair? Well, it's not fair what you're doing, either. The truth of the matter is, we non-Muslims ARE oppressed...by Muslims. You expect everybody else to cave to your demands. If not...KA-BOOM! You want religious tolerance? Change the way people perceive you. Take a stand against your extremist brethren. Your silence against attacks all over the world only serve to support their cause. Pardon us for not wanting you around. Until you take a stand for what is right, then we will always single you out. It's human nature. Don't like it? Then stop wasting your breath on these forums and find a positive way to put yourself in a better light. I know. You shouldn't have to. Unfortunately, you can thank your extremist buddies for that.
You go Derrique! Amen to that!
I hate it when the muslim community from other countries try to enforce their way of life in countries that are not muslim. When they can't get their way, they cry and say that the people of that country are anti-islamic. But yet again, if a non-muslim visits a muslim country and does the same they would either kill or hurt them and tell them to get out. Plus I'm happy France did that because it's a security issue when it's comes time to identify someone. If you don't like their laws then leave!!!!!!!!!!! Just remember that the Jewish community is hated the most in the world and yet you don't here that much noise from them while the muslim community is only about 9 percent dislike because ties with extremist which is only a small percentage and yet they cry the most.
What's even more amazing is that most of Israel is Muslim. 70% of the population in Jerusalem is Muslim.
I guess freedom to practice religion is illegal in France. I understand the need to i.d people argument, but i think someone covered head to toe is easier to identify than someone whose features can be seen. They could take them off while trying to escape from a crime but that would probably take a while by then their location would be noted. This is just an excuse to persecute people who are different from the majority. Why is all of a sudden illegal now.
I totally agree. It's like banning ski masks when going into banks. Maybe I don't want to rob the place, but why make people feel uncomfortable? Take the damn thing off! This is what you do when you go out in public. Practice your faith in your group or at home, but I want to see your FACE when you are around me in public!
And what if people decided that pockets were too dangerous (you could be holding guns in there)? Should we ban those too?
Pockets aren't covering your face. Stick with the argument.
seriously......... A.K you're an idiot?? pockets?? you sound like a 8 yrs old.....
My point is that forcing someone to show his/her face provides no real protection. Especially if the person is planning on executing a suicide plot anyway. Forcing someone to show his/her hands makes far more sense.
But anyway, seems like ski masks aren't being outlawed in France. Why not? I would be more comfortable with this policy if it applied to men as well as women. (Men commit the vast majority of terrorist actions, and no man is required to wear the niqab or burqa.)
So how are nude beaches ok but covering your body not ok? and, If I want to show my faith in public (i.e. wearing a christain cross emblum on my necklace, covering my hair and/or face, having a beard, etc.) I have a right to do so...
It is not like banning ski mask when going into the bank! These are symbols of their faith and religion, and what is faith if you only demonstrate it in your own home? Having true religion and true faith is demonstrating your beliefs even when the world is against you. Its hypo critic to say that you will only praise your god in your own home but loose all you believe in when you go in public. I'm sorry but this is not like banning ski masks, it's much deeper then that. It's only ignorant people who believe that this is okay to strip people of their faith and what they believe in because of fear of the unknown
If you try to walk into a court house with a ski mask, be prepared to take it off. But wearing a burqa somehow gives you special privileges? Bull crap! That is why ski masks aren't illegal because you WILL take it off if a cop tells you. Good luck with a burqa.
AmericanMuslim the only nude beaches I am aware of are clearly marked and isolated from the rest of society. Besides which, the people don't take their nude bodies into public and kill others. It is possible to cover your body without a garment that allows terroristic activity to take place. Mormons have religious garments that cover their bodies and do not allow bombs to be hidden in them. BTW I know of several Muslims who visit the nude beaches in Sandy Hook NJ on a regular basis – seems pretty hypocritical to me.
@Skolo- I think you are completely missing the point. These aren't ski masks! They represent a part of their religion where they believe that it is unholy of them to show parts of their body or hair to other people (men in particular). You're missing the whole point of this. I completely agree that wearing a ski mask in a bank or court is wrong but there is actual evidence of people robbing and shooting people in ski masks! Where is the evidence that women in a burqa's or a niqab did anything wrong?!?! There is none. People just think that if you are of the Muslim faith that automatically makes you dangerous! And it's wrong on so many levels. I don't go around thinking all caucasian people are part of the KKK or that since you're german you hate jews So people shouldnt think that just because they are Muslim and demonstrate their faith in public that they are going to go on a terror rampage. It's just ignorance at it's finest.
I went to the US embassy in South Africa to get a US visa, I had to have ID photographs that were taken within the last 2 months and the guy behind the counter decides if they were recent enough. A muslim family consisting of a man and two people under burkas were also getting visas but the 'woman' did not have to show their faces. They arrived and left without ever proving who they were or if they were even woman.
I'm pretty sure it's not fear of the unknown – it's fear of the very much known... what lies beneath is not a clock ticking! 😉