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. lchin

    New hit song playing on French radio. J'amuse!

    Little Achmed, Little Achmed
    Are you angry, Are you angry
    I just banned your head dress
    Now you have no redress
    Sucks to be you, Sucks to be you

    April 11, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
  2. Don Mack

    I have nothing against Islamics. However, it seems as if they want the laws of a country to change for their benefits. If they want to live in France, do as the French do and obey their laws. I am sure the French would be required to obey Islamic law in Islamic countries.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
  3. 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 1:06 pm |
  4. Elsa

    than why France goes and bombs the countries of those women...They can go to their houses with bombs and guns, but when the women come to France they are asked to take off the burka acording to french law ...Shameeeeeeeee

    April 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
  5. Scott

    Good for France. Anyone who decides to live in another country should HAVE to adopt the culture and laws of that country. If you wantot hold onto your "culture" and beleifs that dearly go back to the country where they are accepted.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
  6. Daniel

    -We are not bigots but realists. Muslims commit near 100% of the terrorist acts in the world. This is fact. Security against is paramount in the world. Read a book or newspaper. Stop listening to stupid liberals.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Luis Wu

      Bigoted much? It's not about Islam. The quran doesn't require a burqa, it's an old custom. Ignorant red-neck survivalist, neo Nazis commit terrorist acts too.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  7. Gorp

    So let me get this straight. In the name of women's rights and freedom, they're forebidding women from wearing specific clothing? Right... Come on people, certain muslims wear these sorts of things in reverence and respect for their god. Its like forcing a monk who has taken a vow of silence to speak.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Luis Wu

      It's about security. If you show a cop your driver's license, how can he know that it's really your picture if you're wearing a burqa? What about a photo ID for cashing a check? People can't cover their faces in situations like that.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  8. Unknown

    The burqa has nothing to do with Islam. It is a cultural practice in the Middle East BEFORE Islam was founded. To say this is against Islam is a misconception, this is against a cultural practice.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Susanta

      Correct !

      April 11, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  9. Luis Wu

    I think this is a good idea. It's not about religion, it's about being able to identify someone. If you buy something with a check, sometimes they'll ask for a photo ID. How will they identify you if you wear a burqa? The same for law enforcement authorities. If they check your driver's license, how can they be sure it's you? It's ridiculous. If you want to wear a burqa stay home, don't drive and don't cash checks.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • amcipriano

      It is so refreshing to read your comment. I could not agree with you more.

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

      Tell me, why should you get the privilege of identifying everyone? As long as everyone carries picture ID for the police, and submit to showing faces to security officers at terminals and banks, then the law is an imposition. I wonder what restriction is next for our own protection and in the name of fearing an enemy. A certain George Orwell had thoughts on this.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  10. Patrick Chukwura

    At the end of the day....religion is the cause of most issues in this world. Until people stop reading the ancient fables in their religious books and taking it as the end all/be all, we'll continue to have a high amount of hatred.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Luis Wu

      Exactly! Thank you.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Lamar in Dallas, TX

      Amen, brother! As John Lennon famously said, "imagine NO religion" I say NO religion, KNOW peace!

      April 11, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  11. Lisa Marquez

    I don't think they should wear them simply because you can't tell what they might be hiding under there, a bomb perhaps. With their reputation I think it's totally justified. What if they get pulled over by a cop for a traffic violation. The cop needs to see their face, so, do they pull it off for that? Plus, they are so freaking ugly, yuck!!

    April 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  12. bertofwao

    Are these the pictures they have in there driver's license. How are the police or anybody going to identify them?

    April 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  13. Natalie

    It is not about religion, it is about safety. In Florida I cannot ride a motorcyle with a face mask because I cannot be identified. In many far northern states I cannot walk around the city in ski mask even with the temperature because I cannot be identified but I can wear a burqa. Most states still allow you to wear a burqa in a bank! But I can't wear a scarf over my face into a bank. That sounds like discimination to me.

    And to those who want to ban crucifixes. In many Muslim countries even though I am Catholic I cannot wear a crucifix. I cannot walk around without a burqa. I cannot even put up a Christmas tree in my own home unless it is in an interior room where it cannot possibly be seen through a window. My son cannot wear a Christian tshirt out in public. You can't have freedom of religion only when it suits you.

    In public schools we are no longer allowed to pray but in NYC muslims can gather in the street monthly and pray. I get a little tired of being persecuted for being a Christian!!

    April 11, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Luis Wu

      How utterly stupid. You can pray in schools anytime you want. The only thing illegal is for a teacher, school administrator, etc. to LEAD a prayer for students. Get your facts straight. Then maybe you'll know what you're talking about. This post shows that you don't.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  14. noon

    notsoquick, i'm glad that's your username. glad you realize it, too.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  15. Read1st

    I am a devout American muslim and I believe that Islam is the completion of Judaism and Chritianity. I applaud this ruling. Under Islamic law women can be president, witness, lawyers or anything that a man can be. Forcing a woman to cover her face is against Islam. Quran states that women should dress modest. Unfortunately some out dated culturs or traditions are taking precedent over Islamic law. As Mulims we hear outrageouss claims and accusations every day. Some realy funny, like the 72 virgin...for the record,it's never mentioned any where in Islam. if it did Fox would have shown those pages of Quran 24/7. Read about Islam and make your own judgement

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

      nobody's forcing anyone to cover her face. some women want to.

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

      Great ..... should be appreciated by one & all.

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

      I like your open minded thinking. If you were the "NORM" then we'd feel more comfortable with Islam. I hope you can understand how the rest of the world is concerned about the "radicalized" portion of Islam. It takes center stage and supercedes all the good within Islam.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Luis Wu

      In Afghanistan, the Taliban DID force women to wear them.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  16. PatD

    Where did “WhereToNowDC” get the notion that Democracies are supposed to be more tolerant of other religions??? Look it up if you don’t know what a democracy is. It’s a Government by the PEOPLE…in all true Democracies the people would make the choices like the MAJORITY or COMMON GROUP would decide issues by voting in laymen terms…. Doesn’t mean that they have to be tolerant of something that a minority would want… Read up on what a Democracy is.

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

      What you fail to understand is that there are different types of democracies, For example, the U.S. isn't a liberal democracy it's a Republic. We don't have majority rule. We have policy through representation. Why? So that minority opinions aren't always quashed by the majority. So, next time you try to lecture someone on something, make sure that you yourself have an understanding.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • jamesT

      Oops, I mean that the U.S. system isn't a "DIRECT" democracy.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  17. Susanta

    I feel all secular states need to follow this ban. As it is, I personally feel that all truly secular states should keep any form of Religion , religious symbols away from public life & places.
    Religion is a very intimate & personal matter. Should be kept were it is cherished & followed with reverence.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  18. chillendmost

    You HAVE to keep Islam in check. If left to do whatever it wants it WILL destroy any country. Islam ALWAYS breeds radical elements as it grows. That's just part of Islam. Part of Islam wants to be normal and the other part of islam is phucked up. It's unfortunate but for every good Muslim trying to live peacefully there is another Muslim hell bent on destruction.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  19. amcipriano

    Freedom of religion and freedom of expression are not "rights" in every country. They are rights in the United States of America. Most muslim countries do not offer the same tollerance or freedoms for other cultures in their countries. MOST countries however will allow any legally residing person TO LEAVE AT ANY TIME. This is not an issue of religion, it is an issue of security. I would not want a masked person as my doctor, my childs teacher, or walking into my place of business. This is a common sense issue.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  20. vtwinr

    Notice the stiffer fine of "up to 60,000 euros" and "possibly a 1 year term in prison" for those who force the wearing of a burqa upon another. They're after the clerics...right?

    April 11, 2011 at 1:01 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.