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. Alex

    Ok so they ban the burqa. Fine. Then they should ban Christians from building churches in Muslim countries!!

    April 11, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • John Doer

      You wouldnt want to be a Christian in many of these muslim countries you would be subjected to violence and be chastised every day. They come here and expect us to be tolerant of them but they are very intolerant of us. It is about time we stand up and say this is our country if you dont like our laws and customs go home we dont want or need you here!

      I applaud this new law in France and hope other countries follow. We need to rid ourselves of these animals hiding behind religion. Woman have rights and we deserve security. If your religion interferes with the rest of us too bad you make the changes or go home.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Jon O

      Supposedly Sharia Law requires that they respect the laws of the lands in which they settle.

      I'm all for letting them do anything in their religion they want that doesn't interfere with the laws of my country – but if my laws give women rights, for example, and you punish a women violently for breaking some rule of your religion – sorry. The rules of my freedom-respecting nation trump the rules of your religion.

      If you don't like it, go home. But your "law" does not give you the right to beat and abuse people if the laws of my country forbid it.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Jon O

      This is exactly why there is no Theocracy first world countries....

      April 11, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Shawn C.

      And where exactly is there a "muslim" country ? Every country in the world is multi faith...open your eyes!

      April 11, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  2. Penny

    Good job France. The United States should start taking these kind of stands. If you want to be in our country you need to follow our laws. You would expect us to do the same in your country. If you country was so bad and you left for a better life then abide by our laws. And last but not least if you're going to live in our country (LEGALLY) you need to speak our language.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  3. Jon O

    People are reacting to the overwhelming amount of Muslim violence in the world.

    You want your freedoms, start cleaning your own house and getting rid of the people who give your religion a bad name. Every time a Muslim stands by and watches a fundamentalist engage in murder and violence, they're just as guilty.

    I say the same thing about Christians, I left the Catholic faith because Rome covered up molestation.

    Clean your house, earn your freedoms. But no one on the planet who values the truth will ever claim that Islam is the "religion of peace" as a whole, when every day we see unimaginable violence done by Muslims to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Jon O

      And what sets them apart is that said violence is done in the name of their God. Sure, a "Christian" may murder someone, but our news stories aren't filled with Christians murdering people in the name of their God. Not on a multiple-case per day basis like you see in third world Islamic countries.

      Clean your house.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • River Phoenix

      I agree with you, although, it says a great deal about your intelligence level when you start stereotyping everyone. Are all whites child molesters? No....but all childmolesters are white.....I know I sound very stupid....get the idea??

      April 11, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  4. Daniel

    Its a great point about them all leaving theirs countries. The way to stop war on earth, is to eradicate the muslim religion.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  5. Simpleton

    How about I take Playboys Miss March to Iran, or india, or Syria and she is in an absolutely dashing mini bikini. Whould we or at least she be arrested? You all know the answer!
    SO, I rest the case on a countries ability to defend it's traditions or needs. What IS NOT FAIR is if one country or culture gets to do as they please to another country or culture, and they effect said countries or cultures that do not get to have a say in their own culture or preference.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  6. Sy2502

    If a Western woman goes to Iran or Saudi Arabia and doesn't wear a headscarf, she is going to be stopped by the "morality police". It's about time we give Muslims some of their own medicine. Tolerance must be given before it's demanded. Muslims demand it only, but never want to give it. Good for France for not tolerating a Medieval tradition specifically designed to oppress women. No civilized country should tolerate this junk.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  7. John Doer

    If you don't like the laws of your foreign country move back home. Simple as that. You either follow the laws of the country or leave.In these Islamic countries most other religions are outlawed or you will be subjected to be beaten, put in jail, or even worse. Keep your customs at home and live like everyone else does if you plan to live in a foreign country you are subject to their customs and laws and cannot just say this is my religion and I will do what I want. The majority of us do not like not being able to identify people. It is a security risk we should not be subjected to because your archaic customs and religions accept it. We do not have to accept. Don't like it? Go home we don;t want you here if you cannot live by our rules and laws.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • River Phoenix

      Who is this we you keep writing about? I am willing to bet my kids college tuition that you are not of Native American decent. Your ancestors immigrated to this land, you better act like one too......

      April 11, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  8. Atheists For Reason and Science

    Good. This is a step in the right direction.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  9. Mauvais Sens

    Racist?? Look, i get arrested every time i walk around with a bandanna over my face and carry a six shooter. Just cause i look like a bank robber doesn't mean i am one, right?

    April 11, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  10. Cdogg

    If they don't like it they could always move to a country where the veil is required, or better yet actually follow all of the stupid laws their religon mandates. Although, then they wouldn't have the right to protest, speak to the media or leave the house without being accompanied by a man.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  11. just a thought

    Just a thought to be fair on both sides; I have no objections if one could walk down the streest in Iran or Iraq or Afganistan or even Saudia Arabia and not be persecuted or killed for wearing an expression of my faith with a Cross around my neck...just a thought...the government would not permit me to protection from the masses if I were wearing something considered offensive on that level, right? I mean in all fairness, I don't have a problem with the burka as long as I can were a first with Jesus on it and the Cross around my neck and let people know openly I am a convert to Christianity...

    April 11, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  12. Myter bin Izdurty

    I think France is asking for a whole load of trouble on this one. The intolerance is just disgusting.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  13. Huh?

    This is an attack on a specific group of people. It has nothing to do with 'head coverings" Please get your head out of your behinds this is WRONG

    April 11, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • John Doer

      Dont like the laws in our country then go home. You want to live here you live by our rules and laws.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  14. wbaldwin

    how the heck is it ok for me to wear a full face ski mask in public, but a muslim woman can't practice her religious freedom by wearing her burqa? I think if Osama Bin Laden shaves and puts a bit of makeup on, he will pass for a woman regardless of the burqa, making this argument mute.

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

      I have to agree, if a ski mask is ok, then the burqa should be too.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  15. jt_flyer

    I think if they'd fill in that opening around the eyes it would be just perfect!

    April 11, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  16. Mario

    Oh France! Always leading the way! Let them all criticize you, they will soon MUST follow on your footstep...(Don't believe me? Read a book called 'History') Go France!

    April 11, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  17. Silicon Valley

    Ban on muslim head scarfs? The law they passed is a ban on masks that cover the face. This is a public safety issue, not a religious one. BAD REPORTING.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  18. mike

    Alot of people are saying things like, "try wearing a cross in one of their countries". Stupid argument because you're basically saying "if they can be intolerant of other's religions and practices so can we.....or France". If you have such animosity for Muslim countries, why stoop to their level??

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

      It seems to me that right here in the good old US recently a kid was suspended for bringing a bible to school. So there is no religious freedom for Christians but there is for subversives?

      April 11, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  19. Carl LaFong

    Wonder how soon there will be a terrorist bombing somewhere in France in response to this law . . . . .

    April 11, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  20. Canadian

    Of course there was a revolt over this. Muslims of the world, can you just stfu for once and stop demanding that everyone treat you like a bunch of kings and queens? Oh, and while you're at it, try to stop threatening death to anyone who opposes you. Might make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

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

      Don't insult Muslims on chat board! They might mistake you for actually being present in the computer and suicide bomb their own laptop!

      April 11, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • Canadian

      And that would be bad because...

      April 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
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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.