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. Go France!

    France is doing the right thing. This is a safety issue. If they really hate the law which prevents them from covering their faces and looking like ninjas, they can always just move to a different country.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  2. Sal

    I agree with what France is doing also. Just suppose (which has happened) that a male suicide bomber was dressed like a woman with all that covering and basically goes undetected because it's a woman! France, you did the right thing and I commend you for having the guts which us Americans don't seem to have anymore. It's all about political correctness over here! 

    April 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  3. Carole Clarke

    The argument about complying with the laws of the country they are in doesn't work because this IS about religion for them, not about being able to identify a face. Their countries are overpopulated for the jobs available so they are encouraged to emigrate to any non-Moslem country and slowly impose the religion on it through these methods. They know we are wary of interfering with a person's faith so they use that against us. Amongst themselves they are very satisfied and smug with the ongoing results so far. No one is kicking them out, they can build mosques and schools wherever they can and remain separate from the host country. They use their customs to keep their children from assimilating into the host country. They can be compared to a cancer spreading throughout the nation. This is a fanatic's religion that claims every part of the personality and leaves no space for individuality. They need to be sent back to their countries of origin ASAP.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  4. Eli

    Poor French Men now they have to witness all those ugly faces that were securely hidden behind the ninja mask. Just look at the face behind those veils and you will understand why the men all want to be suicide bombers.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  5. Mary Halley

    People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Up until 50 years ago, Catholic nuns in our country wore habits that were just shy of the burqa. The only things exposed were their hands and face. 50 years is not all that long ago, in the grand scheme of things. The bible (and I'm sure most holy books – whatever they're called) state that a woman should dress MODESTLY. It doesn't mean they have to cover every inch of their bodies. Skirts and dresses of decent length should be enough. Pants that fit modestly should be enough. The real problem I have with the burqa is that it's man's way of "keeping women down" That won't stop until the women rise up and make it stop.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Scared of the Horror hidden under that Veil

      The key to your sentance is "face and hands". That is all I care to see when I am in a bank. A face that can be identified and hands that can be shown not to be holding a knife or gun. Try walking into a bank with gloves and a full mask and see how far you get. What gives these people the right to do this? Because they follow a man who took a six year old girl named Aisha to be his wife?

      April 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  6. razzi

    Those peace loving islamic women are probably like thank Muhammad!

    April 11, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  7. Rob

    I thought we kicked the Nazis out of France.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • judith

      Rob, when Sharia law is shoved down YOUR throat, think about that stupid comment. Sharia / Muslim is more like HITLER than anyone who objects to the oppression Sharia imposes,, go to the middle East and you can have your fill of it all, see what is coming with all our la la, everything goes or it is viewed as raciest, philosophy....

      April 11, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  8. Eugene

    Good for France! Wish the US had some stones to stand up to the PC radicals out there. Remember, the Arab women moved there by choice. If they don't like it...move somewhere that will allow you to wear it. Since when did common sense give way to this crap?

    April 11, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  9. Max Volt

    I dont see how being forced to wear a body bag is 'freedom of religion", but then again what do I know???


    April 11, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  10. Trench Diary

    Like many religious traditions, this one is the stamp of a patriarchal hegemony against all women combined with obsolete practicality. In the scorching desert with sand blasting your face, men also dressed this way. Beards have nothing to do with anything, particularly God or Jaweh, Allah, Muhammed, Jesus, whatever. Facial hair is our reminder that we are monkey related, including all white people or whoever who ironically and stupidly make monkey jokes. If you don't have facial hair, you have one less nasty thing to worry about. Why hide such beautiful faces when you are not in the desert? You are in France of all places! This is like dressing in Eskimo clothes on a California beach.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  11. waitasec

    something about common sense isn't so common in islam...

    April 11, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Carole Clarke

      Common sense and logic are western concepts and Islam is a completely eastern religion. Even though Judaism and Christianity originated in the same part of the world, thanks to the Roman Empire, it was spread around the Med and Europe and became more westernized, Rome had fallen by the time Islam arrived so it retained its eastern concept of bowing to the strongman on the white horse, multiple wives to take up the overpopulation of females, a tendency to exaggerate and no interest in democratic principles.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  12. Sunnyvale

    huh?, Face Cover! Stick to the facts and don't distort!

    April 11, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
  13. Dee2118

    When western women go to visit in a Muslim country, they are required to cover their heads; why should the Muslims women in other countries not be required to follow the laws that regulate covering all. Some of the outfits show only their eyes. As others have mentioned, if they had committed a crime, they could never be identified.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
  14. Money

    Those two look like they are about to rob a bank or something, or blow themselves up. Take all that crap off when in the Western World...The same should be done here in the US!

    April 11, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  15. Sunnyvale

    urkiddinme put it perfectly! "We have the right to do this or that because of our religion.." is absolutely abused and mainly by muslims. Unfortunately we are still idiot enough to let them get away with this form of blackmail. I applaud France for having then ban and I really hope we will do the same soon. Muslims if you don't like it go back to your countries and stop oppressing us!

    April 11, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  16. Steve

    All countries should follow the lead France has taken here. What would be even better is if all western countries would start deporting all these middle easterners right now.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Kimberly

      I think better would be to deport ignorant red necks like you!
      Having said that, I totally agree with France and the ban- as this is about dominating the woman, and NOTHING to do with religion. If they want to practice this disgusting practice of degrading women, then they need to do it in a land that approves of it. Civilzed countries do NOT and should not accept this. America is lacking here, and should also outlaw this. Then they should work on shipping people like steve out to siberia!

      April 11, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  17. NM Man

    Keep up the good work France.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  18. steve

    Its to bad we dont have these rules in canada. We have had enough of minoroties pushing there ways on canadians here

    April 11, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Huh?

      Really Steve? Hey look at the racist everybody!

      April 11, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • humbug

      everybody is so cold in canada, you have to cover your head there!

      April 11, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Not All Docs Play Golf

      Can you eleaborate on which "minorities" and exactly what "ways" have been pushed upon you?

      April 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Eugene

      It's not just you guys up north, we've got the same problem only worse down here in the US. Oh and to Huh? – you're a joke. Try using the word properly before just spouting off like the idiot you are.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • NY120

      Steve nobody cares about what Canada thinks or has to say. Besides if it wasnt for the immigrants, your population and economy would be non-existent.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Scared of the Horror hidden under that Veil

      NY120 – the last time I checked Christopher Columbus was the first immigrant to arrive in the US. All that followed after would be immigrants too. It was only after the original Department of Homeland Security (Indians on their Horses) were killed that these immigrants believed they were the original inhabitants. Unless your name is "Big Eagle Squatter" I am sad to say you likely are in the US due to a relative who immigrated.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • kayinde

      I agree. The division I am in at the bank has almost 50% immigrants from Asia and the Middle East. They are an isolated group and actively discriminate against the American citizens whose jobs they are taking. Everything has to be set up to cater to them. I don't understand why we are importing people when they are laying off hundreds of American workers whose jobs have been taken by these H1B visas.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  19. Jez

    These muslims left their crummy countries because the West is so much better. Notice none of them are going back to the lands of Islamic law. That's because those countries stink! Those women would be beaten and god knows what else if they protested ANYTHING in their own countries. Try assimilating!

    April 11, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Scared of the Horror hidden under that Veil

      I am all for keeping people dressed as clowns, Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and other full face costumes out of lines at Airports and banks, but this is going to far. The men who married these women are doing society a favor by hiding these hideous faces from seeing the light of day. What better way to hide a 5'oclock shadow then to wear a mask.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  20. Huh?

    So that dude I see on an NYC street corner wearing fish nets and pumps is all good...but that 'muslim" with the robes has to go....nice, real nice America...

    April 11, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Sunnyvale

      Face Cover! Stick to the facts and don't distort!

      April 11, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • blownapart

      Reading fail. The ban is in France, chief.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Not All Docs Play Golf

      This is not an attack on any particular religion. If a redheaded athiest cowboy from Texas covered his face in public in France, he'd be subjected to the same law for the same reason. Your comments are about America and New York....this article was a bout France. Perhaps youy didn't bother to read it.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • judith

      Nice America??? This is in France...... it is to make sure people can be identified... get over it.... hope it does become law here,,, it is Sharia law, nothing to do with true religion....

      April 11, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • shegiles

      France isn't a place in America. Shocking, I know.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Amélie

      you do realize this law is in France don't you? And NYC is not in France? And these laws are not in effect in America? Right?

      April 11, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Bobo

      Um, read the article much? FRANCE!

      Try to be less illiterate next time.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Huh?

      but you agree with it 'chief'

      April 11, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • frank

      Yeah, this article is talking about a burqa ban in FRANCE. Nice catch.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Money

      The dude yoiu see on a NYC street corner wearing fish nets and pumps is all good because he doesn't blow people up...is that difficult to understand?

      April 11, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • AcctbyDay

      France, it says France. Seriously, atleast read the article.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Huh?

      I know exactly where it is happening bt you ALL seem to agree with it rght?? Way to go America! And yes this is about islam, not clothing. Are you stupid or something??

      April 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • E

      learn to read, the ban is in France

      April 11, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • John

      this is about France

      April 11, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • sam99999

      IDIOT. So quick to want to jump on America for every little thing. LOL

      April 11, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Mary

      Huh....huh? Read the article...the new law is in FRANCE not American! At least try to sound intellegent.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Jude

      The fact is everbody is just letting there emotion get the best of them. I didnt know our founding fathers said we have freedoms but only if we show our face. Right! This is such nonsense. So in Halloween everbody should be careful, they might get fined for hiding themsleves. What about people at disney whereing costoms, if they have to go somewhere out side does that mean they "HAVE" to take there costoms off or they would be fined. When was the last time here in the US we had somebody in these types of outfits do anything. Here in the US. I guess they can hide things in these ninja garments but so can people wearing baggy paints, shirts, in autos, in bags...etc. I may be wrong, but keep the fear away and the logic in play please. By the way,France is France and the US is the US. what works there maynot work here...

      April 11, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
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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.