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. Huh?

    Congrats America. You have allowed the 9/11 catastrophe along with the wars in the middle east to collectively transform you into bigots. "Mission accomplished"

    April 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Liz

      last i looked France isn't part of America...Maybe you should retake geography.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Huh?


      April 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • Rastamis

      Who is Linda? Maybe you shuld go back to school all together. Oh wait, if your a Muslim women your not allowed 🙁

      April 11, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • Frank

      Actually, women are allowed to go to school and get an education in most countries in the middle east. However, this is only done to raise their value when the father is looking for a rich husband for his daughter. An educated wife is a common trophy that rich Arab men like to display to their socila circles. It doesn't matter if she has a bachelors, she will never work! It is just all about showing off.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  2. mommers

    Go France! Stick to your guns! There are plenty of other places in the world where these women can wear what they want. They think they can control governments of non-muslim countries. Show them that they can't! And French children should not have to be frightened by scary, dark, Ghost-like figures walking around.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm |

    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 1:01 pm |
    • Huh?

      No, just muslims

      April 11, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  4. pippin

    The fact that women have to wear this is nothing but repression. Many, many Arab women died fighting this kind of repression over the years. Why don't they honor those women and tell their husbands to take a hike! It has nothing to do with religion; nowhere in the Koran does it say that women are to wear this crap. I bet if Arab women were made to wear a 50 ft chain with a 500 pound weight on the end of it and it was banned there would be women out there that would fight the ban. Some people are beyond help!

    April 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  5. Jessie

    Sounds like they are more worried about security and being able to identify people easily. But I could be wrong

    April 11, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  6. Virginie Baird-Smith

    Many laws, in the United States and in the Western world could be seen as against the freedom of religion. In many countries, polygamy is part of a religion, but still, in America, it is against the law. In many countries, you can lapidate a wife if she was unfaithfull to her husband, but you cannot do that in America. In America, you are free to practice your religion, but not at the expense of a human being. The Coran never stated that a woman had to be imprisonned in a burqua. That religious law was created by men who were to weak to restrain their desire and asked the woman to hide themselves in order to not seduce men. I think it is fair to protect these women, even against their will. As the seat belt is mendatory by law, even if you cause no risk to anybody by not wearing it, the law is protecting you against your will, and nobody has never cried aver it!

    April 11, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  7. Evrgreen

    I think france is doing the right think by banning the burqas. It is a mesure againts terrorism. You never know who or what's is under those things...The niqab is different though..

    April 11, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  8. Daniel

    VIVA LA FRANCE!!!!!!

    April 11, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  9. lchin

    You banned by burqa
    For what reason I don’t know
    Vous morceau de merde

    April 11, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  10. Brian

    For all those saying France is a Christian nation and is singling out Muslims as hatred against them, please do some research and learn about what really is going on. France is a secular nation and does not allow religion to influence any government requirements. French law requires people to have their face visible in public, period. People can wear these garments in their homes and place of worship. In their public school system, France does not allow students to have any religious icons visible, including the wearing of a crucifix.

    While this ban was long promoted as a women's rights issue by organizations that considered it to be a showing of submissiveness, oppression, and diminished capacity as a person, the law was enacted strictly as a public safety measure. It should not be unexpected that women who wear these find it normal to wear them and are against the ban...their entire way of life and culture expected the burka. Change and new found freedom is often difficult to accept or to adjust to.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Frank

      Thank God, finally somebody who leaves an educated comment on this subject! Thank you! I do appreciate it.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  11. Daniel

    The answer is that they should BAN ISLAM AROUND THE WORLD! These people are living backwards lives.....welcome to the present

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

      I really, really hope you are not Christian. Yikes.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Frank

      I personally don't think abolishing Islam is necessary.... After all, if you think about it, those people don't have the same levels of drug probles, alcoholism and family desintegation as we do. However, they should not expect that countries around the world should accomodate their demands, especially if it goes against what that country stands for. If they don't like it, they can always have the freefom to take the next plane to back home, something women can't do in the middle eats without a male family member giving them permission. They should learn to appreciate their new found freedom.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  12. Hi there

    While I don't truly believe that this is a completely fair decision on France's part – I do believe that religion is a total crock and any magic Halloween costumes that come packaged with it also fall under that category. Government shouldn't dictate fashion per se but if everyone walked around in cloaks and ninja outfits all the time my days would be pretty bleak. Sarkozy just wants to see some skin – and who can blame him? Some of these ladies are fiiiiine.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  13. lou50

    Good for France, proud of them!

    April 11, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Frank

      Yes, finally a country who is not afraid to say enought!!!! You don't like it? then take the next plane or ferry back to the middle east. You either adapt to the country where you moved to live or get out. Countries should not have to adapt to people who move there from different parts of the world.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  14. MissV

    Vive la France!!!!!!!!

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

    Finally we get to see how hot those women actually are!!

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

      Or men! Because you can never be surer who is underneath a burqua. Terrorist in the middle east are using those attires to avoid military checkpoints, sometimes blowing themselves up when they reach the checkpoint and induce as many casualties as possible. I am sure terrorist will use this eventually in the western world, we are waaaayyy to accomodating to them because we don't "want to offend anybody"! Ask yourself this question, if you were to go to the middle east, would they care about not offending you when you openly display your religious worship? What would happen to your wife, daughter or sister if she was wearing a miniskirt or a tank top????? Exactly!!! You got my point!

      April 11, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  16. notsoquick

    Identification? Bulls**t. When someone is dressed in a burka they right away identify themselves as a religious fanatic, as does a Christian who wears a cross or a Jew with a yarmulke or a Buddist monk in an orange robe. yadda, Yadda, Yadda.
    Grow up people.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  17. Rey

    they should follow France law and we should have that law in Canada too, since if you go to their country and practice evangelism or roman catholic you get beat up or killed, we don't have that in the Americas.

    Since we don have no rights in their countries, like they did in Manitoba/Canada taking the prayer before the National Anthem, they should follow France law and it we should have it.

    one more thing i'm Hispanic they do the same in my homeland.

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

      I agree completely. I am also hispanic, so do not think that I am being a bigot. If me and my wife were to travel to the middle east, she would have to cover her head, we would not be able to practice our religious beliefts out in public, right? Because if we did, we would either be arrested or beat by an angry mob! There is no such thing as being open to another people's cultures or accepting their practices. There is no tolerance in the middle east to people who are different. So, here comes the million dollar question...... Why shouldn't they be required to follow the laws of the country they live in? Why should the laws be passed to accomodate their religion or beliefs? I don't think they were asked to leave the middle eats, right? They went there on their own.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
  18. dfergenson

    A muslim, a jew and a catholic walk into a bar... all the time in the U.S. We've had four terrorist attacks on NYC interdicted by muslims that I can think of off of the top of my head. It's the integration at the level of the individual that protects us. And it's because we would never stand for such a discriminatory law that we have this integration. After 9/11, I offered to defend my Afghan neighbor's house. Today, if I lived in France, I'd don a burka.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  19. dimi

    in an islamic country wearing burka is the law. any woman who's visiting that country must obey it, regardless of faith. Just look at certain TV reports being reported by women.
    these people come to Europe, to France, in search of better life for themselves and their families. They practice their religion freely, not threatened by anyone.
    At least they should understand and follow the rules of country which adopted them. Europe is not Middle East, the upbringing here is Christian, certainly we have different views, but we still live together in one country,
    and whatever advantages we've had , Muslims have here too, so stop blaming France for passing this law.
    Don't like it, there's always a way back, you know.
    Viva le France!

    April 11, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  20. Kimberly

    First of all, to all you ignorant rednecks, this is about womans rights that France is doing this. NOT hate! You need to get over yourselves, and your twisted views of anyone NOT Christian! This practice should be banned in ALL countries, again, this is stricktly about degrading women, and this needs to end!

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

      Well said Kim. I totally agree! 🙂

      April 11, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Rastamis

      Muslim women are of the most degrated people in the world. Muslim men keep their women uneducated to control them.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Dante

      This is about women's rights.

      Now that we have taken away a woman's choice on what she can wear, she is truly free.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Roaster

      Kim, breathe, its all going to be OK. Bashing Christians is not going to help further your arguement for womens rights. You just come off looking like a hipocrite. Womens rights in your left hand while clubing Christians over the heads with your right.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • DisplacedMic

      wow – the idiocy is strong in this thread. and in this law. i don't care how good the motivations behind it might be, in the end the government is telling people what they can or can not wear and that is absolute insanity. Liberty for all, not just liberty we agree with.

      For the record, I am a non-religious conservative and i believe people should be free to practice their faith however they want as long as they are not infringing upon anyone else's rights. If someone is being forced against their will to wear a burka, or any religious artifact for that matter, then sure – that should be illegal. But to ban an article of clothing outright is utter stupidity.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Tularockstar

      Gee, Kimberly, if burqas were worn by men, would you have the same opinion? In a free society, there are also crimes that are committed by people who cover their faces (ie bank robbers!) To combat that, big cities use cameras to capture criminal faces. I agree that the ban shouldn't be about women, but I also see a need in France (and elsewhere) that would make it easier for authorities to track down criminals.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • TruthTeller

      Kimberly, you are obviously no smarter than a redneck anyway but regardless, if women thought covering themselves is degrading, they wouldn't have done it. But there are millions of women who do it out of respect for their faith. So shut your pie whole and try to UNDERSTAND that "SOME WOMEN ARE FIGHTING TO BE DEGRADED (if that's what you call it) BY COVERING THEIR BODY". If you have the right to be lower than an animal by exposing your body or be naked, why wouldn't others have the right to cover it? Where is Freedom of Religion?

      April 11, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Rastamis

      Seriously, these Muslim women are not allowed by their men to vote, get a job, get their very own apartment, choose to have a baby on their own, buy a car etc etc etc...
      But you say their rights are violated because they can not wear a mask? Get your priorities straight. If people like you really cared you would crusade for these women to have the right to go to school full time so they could learn to take care of themselves.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
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