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.
Thank goodness! It should have never been allowed instead of having to be banned. It is remarkable the things women allow and abide by in the name of religion. Hiding one's face is so repressive anyone with a functioning brain can see what the motive is behind it. Stop expecting to be treated as if you're less than human. If you cannot do that for yourself, France just enacted a law to help you! I hope other nations follow.
Is it cool if I wear a gas mask and tactical goggles in the street? It's part of my Industrial Aggrotech EBM beliefs.
It is legal. It is also legal for the police to ask you to remove them for identification purposes. If you refuse, which presumably women wearing burqas would, than they can arrest you.
If they want acceptance then go to a country where it is accepted to wear such clothing. It's a lot simpler than moving half way around the world and than trying to change the culture and customs of a country you voluntarily moved to. To expect everyone else to change to meet your desires is unrealistic and selfish.
Robert, Don't you think it's you who are asking them to change everything? The West is made of democracies built on tolerance. If carrying picture ID and showing your face to security personnel are both required, then why meddle in how other people dress?
Not me, the country of France, and because they had to know the basic culture of the county they freely chose to move to. Again, It is they who need to adapt not an entire country. Unfortunatly is was made very clear with the riots there that this culture is expecting France to change to their way of living and is unwilling to intrgrate fully into the French culture and way of life. Just as Ipeople understand that anyone who moves to an Islamic based country know full well that western cultures are not accepted in many ways and need to change to their way of life while in that country.
The French ruling party are desperate for a win in the next election, they are trying the same failed strategies that the Republican party here in the US practices against immigrants, blacks, indians...
Sarkozy is following the steps of McCain and Palin who will be disowned for life.
Although a state with pluralistic religious values must allow for freedom of religion, they cannot allow religious practices that hinder the functionality of the state. The niqab and burqa hinder some state functions and make illegal activity either. If no Muslims ever committed crimes, there would be no ban. Sadly, some Muslims (just as in any social group) do commit crimes. Thus allowing garments that aid in robberies and other illegal activities cannot be permitted. Religious freedom is not endless, it ends when it hurts someone else to a substantial degree.
Islam needs a makeover from the YOUTH. The YOUTH need to get together and DENOUNCE Radical Islam as barbaric – treat is like DRUGS. The Muslim YOUTH need to change the perception or the rest of the world won't put up with it. We know old school Islam and we know many Muslims are in poverty and lean more towards radical Islam and there will never be a place in civilized society for this.
It is not islam that needs makeover: Every religion needs to cease. No one needs religion in these days: we can do better without the biggest lie ever.
Good point, it's like a drug.
Indeed. Religion is silly...
I wonder how long it will take for christianity/islam/judaism/etc to be viewed as mythology in history books like the greek & roman religions are now....
The time for that realization is at hand. No one comes back from the dead. Medical school taught me that. Funny how all the religions from that one spot have the same theme; Dude dies, comes back in a big yellow bus to take you to a cloud. Funny how the mind is retarded by religion.
Krappy joke of the min: It's democratic in a way that homely woman can be treated as nice as any.
If you immigrate to another country, you need to follow the customs and laws of that country. If a Christian woman immigrated to an Islamic country and didn't wear Islamic dress, she'd be arrested too.
Thank you Bob, how true.
You, sir, are totally correct about that.
How is it that France is stronger than the US on this issue? For once I applaud France. Once.
For once those cheese eating surrender monkeys are standing their ground.
When in Rome....
This is an unfortunate and wasteful use of time, money and other resources. What does a particular group of women's dress truly have to do with anything? Does their dress affect France's fiscal budget? Does their dress affect France's food prices? Does their dress affect the high school drop out rate in France? The answer is clearly "no" to the aforementioned and more...
France should focus on things that provide social parity and equity in accordance to human rights, not Country Wide agenda's.
This seems parr for the course in respect to Eurocentric Ideologies.
Since when did the word Muslim become synonymous with terrorist? And since when did a woman wearing a burqa become synonymous with being a terrorist? Radical Islamic fundamentalists are who we should be worried about, not some chick wearing a cloth on her head.
I am not religious, though was born Catholic, fyi. I have no ties to Islam, nor do I agree with the cultural practice of covering a woman. But I also don't think banning a burqa is the right idea.
The only likely result of this ban will further oppress these women by not allowing them to leave their houses. It is their right to wear or not to wear a burqa.
Perhaps they are worried about men terrorist dressed up as Mulsim women bombing something. Afterall, France has as a large influx of immigrants from terrorist countries.
I'm the type that is incensed at religious persecution, but if terrrorism becomes a growing thing anywhere,
ban face covering in public, or dissuade it. I think the penalties are a bit harsh, though.
You should see the penalties in Sharia law, if you want to talk about harsh.
way to go france...we need to do the same in america...before some jabronie calls me a bigot, here's why: without seeing the face, that person could be anyone...specifically a criminal on the move. yea let's give em an outfit that they can wear that keeps 'em hidden, f that. with that veil, anyone could be hidden in plain sight and the police won't hassle them because then some liberal will call them a racist for profiling.
@Alex it's actually worse than what you are saying. Remember Elizabeth Smart. That freak who kidnapped her put a veil on her and told a police office that he couldn't look at her because it would violate their religious beliefs. That could happen again.
In that case ban crosses.
Some freak could put one in a yard and burn it...
I'm gay, by the way, if you didn't already guess. I'm a gay priest, having his way with your little boys in church.
I can think of LOTS of religious practices I would object to in the United States. Child brides, stoning for minor offences, etc. If you left your god-forsaken country for a western democracy, you have to leave some of these practices behind. Western female journalists follow local law/culture when the wear head scarves in these countries, so they can follow local culture/laws when they come here.
A) We aren't a democracy, we are a Republic.
B) Republics specifically protect the rights of minority groups just for this reason. People like you that think they can determine how people can or cannot practice their religion.
C) How many people in America have used burqas to hide bombs or guns or do anything illegal? None...
Dumb: but there has been acts of terrorism in France. We are not talking about America. We are talking about France. Two different countries, two different governing structures.
Exactly! No one is forcing them to come here. In fact I would venture a guess that most people would prefer the Muslims to stay away. If you're going to come here honor our customs or leave.
I am not referring to France. I am not French so I care less what they do in their own country.
MS was talking about America so I responded in that context.
Honor what customs exactly?
Should they dress like white people and go to Christian schools and be forced to have white names???
What is this? The 1800s?
Our custom IS religious freedom... Period.
"How many people in America have used burqas to hide bombs or guns or do anything illegal? None..."
None that you know of. Since you obviously feel like you know it all, that's hardly surprising.
Hi pot... Meet kettle...
None at all is the answer. I can think of plenty of white guys that used Christianity to hide their terrorist leanings though...
Leave it to the French to go back in time 210 years, and undo the great achievements of their revolution. I guess this statement no longer applies, from the Declaration of the Rights of Man, Article 4:
"Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law. "
This ban is an absolute embarrassment.
Burqas are an embarrassment. Talk about going back in time.
Are you an idiot in real life, or do you just portray one on the internet?
@Barnacle Bill – You are an idiot. Did you come up with that insult or did your 4 year old in bred son tell you what to write?
Did you understand your own statement? The part about being "determined by law"? The State determined that there was a legitimate reason for having this law, for the safety of the whole, and created a LAW to address the PROBLEM.
You got it wrong, your an embarrassment to whatever country you come from
You people are the ones who don't understand, at all. How can you be so dense to misinterpret this:
"the freedom to do everything which injures no one else"
by noting that those things that have this effect must be set by law? The point is that people dressing the way they want harms no one, and such laws are contrary to this provision! They can set laws to limit those things that DO injure others? Get it? If you don't, you are as big an embarrassment as the bigots who wrote this law. They are spitting on their own history.
What's so hard to understand? The French government feels that disguising yourself in public creates a POTENTIAL to harm others. They have determined this because IT IS A PROBLEM that has cost people their LIVES. All kinds of laws are created to prevent or minimize the POTENTIAL threats to others. Simple really, unless you are deliberately trying to obfuscate the reasoning.
Shinea – That is bull. If someone needs to be identified by authorities, that's a separate matter. This is nonsense. Passing laws that do NOT harm people, but only create a situation where they might more easily harm people, doesn't rise to the level necessary to be just. The fact that I am stronger than you might make it easier for me to beat you up, but that state of affairs is not itself a crime. The absurdity of it is obvious to anyone who values liberty.
And, of course, YOU value LIBERTY more than all of us uneducated illiterates who lack the clarity of vision you obviously possess in great abundance. Unfortunately, a large proportion of women who wear burqas are FORCED to do so by males. What is liberty for one is subjugation for others. Just because YOU feel that the males should be at liberty to oppress ther women does not mean that the State should allow it. Don't bother telling me how the woman "wants" to be oppressed. Some women do, I don't understand it but they do. Disregarding the small portion who do, there is NO WAY to enforce LIBERTY for the majority without enforcing it for the few. "Liberty" is not just a word, which you obviously don't understand, it is a WAY OF LIFE, that is to be enjoyed by ALL, not just the males of one minor sect.
If they are forced to wear them, that is also a wrong. Two wrongs don't make a right. The French should stand up for their historic principles, which honor and protect the rights of the individual.
You know, my response didn't do justice to your comment, which was a ridiculous, ad hominem, straw man smear. You know nothing of what I want or believe. I am standing up for the rights of the individual, male, female, and otherwise. This law is so obviously wrong that I can't believe people on here support it. Would it be ok here in the US? Hell no. It is NOT the right of one person to tell another what they can and cannot wear, and that goes for the husband just as much as the state.
Where did you get this total bull that I support exactly the opposite of what I stated? I'll tell you where. From your lack of a coherent argument. Instead, you rely on an end justifies the means argument to justify the state taking the rights of the individual, under the false premise that if they don't, the husbands will then steal those same rights. What could be more false than that? You are wrong. No person owns another.
Bravo France for having the political "balls" to pull off something desperately needed in the west. The need to start protecting OUR way of life too. The West is where it is because of many years of wars, rebellion, and fights for democracy. Who are YOU to come to our countries, take advantage of our way of life, and then DEMAND we change to your way of life ? Why should we do that ? Cowards should rise up to your dictators, and restore a free, democratic way of life of your own rather than try and pervert the Wests way of life with outdated, dark age, religious laws. if you don't like it, you can always go back to your better country right ?
Sounds like you have no understanding what OUR way of life really is...
Religious freedom is just that. There is no law stating you must be "identifiable."
Never thought I'd say it but THANK YOU FRANCE! May the rest of the world follow suit.
Are these the pictures they have in their driver licences? how are the police or anybody going to identify them?
Amen! Its about time someone spoke up. America is a melting pot not a conforming pot. Why should we have to change and gear ourselves towards Eastern religion? Its all about politcal correctness. Well done France!
The French are, and always have been, religious bigots. They are worse now that they think they are in the age of "reason."
Because they do not accept your delusion?
No, because they have systemically discriminated against various religions, ethnicities and races.
Just take a look at their "ghettos."
France finally got something right! if only the U.S. would follow suit. instead all of our obama/liberal idiots would probably prefer that all women wear them so as not to offend the muslim world. HA
Religion is the savior of the weak mind. Look at the statistics, 80% illiteracy in muslin nations. So it's no surprise to see muslins blowing themselves up to go to their fairly tale heaven. I just wish they would blow themselves up at their own homes so the rest of us don't have to hear about it. Any religion that believes someone is coming back from the dead needs a bomb vest with a 10 second timer. This would insure that only religious retards are eliminated. Religion: opium for the brainless.
The problem isn't muslims or jews or christians. It's religion...