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. Katie

    Good for you France... I'm proud of you for taking such a stand..

    April 11, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  2. Enid

    Women who wish to wear the burqa should return to the cultures and societies where that is the tradition. It's no secret that this type of full coverage provides perfect concealment for...terrorists, or others with nefarious business to conduct.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • bob

      Finally, a voice of reason! Good on you Enid!

      April 11, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • sara

      I agree with you Enid,now go back rearing to your goats or milking your cows or whatever it is that you do in your village that still has such ancient names!

      April 11, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • BnB

      @Sara: say you don't read much ancient history do you... any clues on how old your name might be?! 🙂

      April 11, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • bad_ju_j00

      your type would probably agree that you are more likely to be shot in LA by people with trousers down to their ankle. What a concept, sagging gangster showing more skin causing more violence than face covering women. That must be a myth in your view.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
  3. Rob

    Is the ban just for that type of full face covering or could you not wear a ski mask too if you were really cold? What about burn victims?

    April 11, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • bad_ju_j00

      Pretty much, if it's Arctic freeze, Frenchies can't handle the cold so they stay home and its not a problem. So legislation is OK.

      But u do bring up a very valid point that all these people full of hate and fear are so .... hmm? guess not everybody can be as smart as us.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  4. mattmchugh

    Testing CNN's filter: Muslim

    April 11, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  5. mattmchugh

    Testing CNN's filer ... - ***

    April 11, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  6. abby

    Don't want people to see your face? Stay home!
    Good for France for having a pair to stand up for France and not cave-in -

    April 11, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • bad_ju_j00

      society doesn't want to see your face either, but we have to put up with it.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
  7. Mr.V

    I've been to France a bunch of times never saw anyone wearing a veil not once. This is all politicized nonsense over a non-issue by Sarkozy to beat up on the Muslims

    April 11, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • S

      Scapegoating Muslims (or whatever minority is unpopular at the time) is a good way, a time-honored way, to drum up political support. We never learn, though.

      April 11, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • BnB

      Say, have you two fellas ever been outside your french chalet or read any news reports lately? Politicized? You two take the take for trying to make reality of violence into nothing but politics... go embrace them and let me know how you go out.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
  8. patricia pratt

    I think it is going to far for a government to decide what a woman is allowed to wear in public. As long as it is not indecent exposure. If the woman wished to cover herself, then who's to say that it's wrong. If she is in fact forced to wear it, that is a different matter. If we wish to hold these women responsible because someone else has used their dress wrongly, then should we not hold nuns responsible because persons have used their uniform to rob banks or other crimes? Really, people, do you hear yourselves? I think there are better ways for governments to secure areas, then worrying about what a person is wearing.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Wesley

      It is about security – if we cannot see your face and a crime is committed then we are limited in our response. Nuns outfits do not cover their face. It is very simple really. You typically cannot walk into a bank with a full ski mask on. Wear the one that doesn't cover your complete face and you are fine.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • bob

      I concur with Wes. I would also like to add that these outfits are also a function of this religion's view of females, a piece of property to be had. Good riddance to these full bodied/facial suits.

      April 11, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • frank

      Exactly as Wesley said, its about security. If this was acceptable, then I could just put on something to cover my entire body, and go out and rob people, kill, whatever, and since I have gloves and mask on, its pretty much impossible to identify me. In modern society, people have to be safe in public area's. If you got people running around in Ninja suits, or Burka's. Its a threat to everyone else's safety and security. Public security exceeds the rights of an individual, its just that simple.

      April 11, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • adfdf

      indecent exposure or indecent covering. What's the difference?

      April 11, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  9. mattmchugh

    Hmmm.. none of my comments have gone through. Odd.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Rasheed

      You must have written against the racist law!

      April 11, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  10. ruth

    This is not against your believes, but when I see a woman whit a burka it makes me nerves is like it scare me I feel like it has a bomb under those clothes.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Rasheed

      And you know why s/he might have a bomb under those clothes? ASk the US, which went around bombing their kids to shreds, keeping their kids fingers for souvenirs, and you, France, are hand in glove with them. And now they wanna be safe, too. Wanna have your cake and eat it too? Fact is, it is YOU, the west, that ruined the peace of the planet and are now posing as peacemakers, pointing your bloody finger of blame at others.

      April 11, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • frank

      Rasheed, so its the US fault for Muslims bombing anyone and everyone, including their own? When will anyone take responsibility for their own actions. Its the US's fault for driving planes into the WTC, and its the US's fault for all the dictators in the Middle East, and its the US's fault that Muslims kill each other, and its the US's fault for all things on earth.... blah blah blah...

      April 11, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • BnB

      Rasheed – is that your emotion showing? Better cover up, just not in France! 😉

      April 11, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • salvatore

      The US has wronged many governments and people in the past, particularly in the middle east. Did 3000 innocent people deserve to die on 9/11? No. But if someone hates you that much, it helps to study why. Although I'm sure you like to think it's simply because we're Christian.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
  11. Dadsnorz

    If they weren't so ugly, then there wouldn't be the need...

    April 11, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  12. athought

    Last summer I took my son to a swimming lesson at an indoor pool. The young life guards were training alongside the lanes of the lesson areas. Next to my son's lane was a man and wife, the wife taking lessons from a female instructor. The wife student was wearing full muslim head gear and full body wet suit, head to toe covered. The husband was wearing a Speedo on his middle-aged, hairy, flabby body (?). He was getting an eye full of all the young girls that were taking safety training and any other female not covered head to toe. I try to keep an open mind. I really do. This image from that experience creeps back into my head regularly when the subject of religious attire comes up.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • bob

      This is simple to explain, this individual will do anything to control a female because he views her as his property. France has chosen to protect women's rights as opposed to continued religious enslavement of females. Not to mention, the protection that it affords the public, often suicide bombers will conceal themselves in these full bodied clothes.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • Rasheed

      So if he had the physique of Gov. Schwartzenegger, would it be ok with you? I mean you could have spared the guy his out-of-shapeness – doesn't help your argument one bit – but you had to show your bigotry/racism! Did you ask the woman why she was so covered?

      April 11, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • S

      Actually, the husband was dressed contrary to Islam as well. Men are supposed to dress modestly, and be covered AT LEAST from the waist to the knee.

      April 11, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  13. mike

    its a good law it should be even harsher !

    April 11, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • john hopkins

      now u r talking!!!!!

      April 12, 2011 at 12:00 am |
  14. NH Says

    It's simple people. Assimilate, assimilate, assimilate. When you come to this country or another country and want to become part of that country you abide by their laws, plain and simple, you don't try and change their laws.
    If you don't like it then you can simply leave.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Rasheed

      Abide by their laws, correct. But for them to make new laws to specifically target a certain faith is also wrong – xenophobia or bigotry. Muslim women wore the hijabs for ages, nothing untoward happened. It's the recent belligerent policies of the US (and stupid France jumped on the bandwagon) toward practically every Muslim country that start with exercising extreme control over them, and leading to massive bombing campaigns, that have spun the world into a downward spiral that's leading us all into the abyss of hatred. Muslims used to admire the good Western values. Now? ...

      April 11, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • frank

      Rasheed, the stupid US and France bandwagon would not be, if people did not drive planes into buildings full of civilians. So you can say is xenophobia, but its a real concern and threat. If some of your radical brothers didn't put Burka's on with explosives strapped to them, maybe it wouldn't be an issue. If moderate Muslims took some responsibility for change, and stood up against their radical brothers, then maybe the world would be a different place. But they don't, and they won't.

      April 11, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • krenz

      I have to agree with France. They are living in country where the cowardly would use their 'religioius freedom" to disguise themselves to kill innocents. It is also a safety hazard to have your entire head covered in this way. I live in a city where there is a large population of burka wearing women, they are trying to drive (so much for being devout) and are causing lots of accidents. Blending of that old custom and the new custom of driving does not work and will probably be banned here soon. Of course muslims are going to cry foul that they are being targeted in France, but don't try to walk uncovered around a muslim nation and try that argument, it will not be TOLERATED. Don't expect the west to just roll over and allow you to dictate how our society should live ESPECIALLY if you are so intolerant in your homelands.

      April 11, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • BnB

      @Rasheed – you must be right, it has nothing to do with terrorism does it – all those Jews and Christians blowing everyone else up around them while walking around with explosives in plain sight! How could they target such an open, friendly, and peaceful segment of French assimilated society?

      April 11, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
    • bad_ju_j00

      @ Frank: how many people wore face covers when flying into the Twin Towers? just say it Frank. It's OK to admit you are a racist. We will all respect u.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
  15. Anna

    I believe that it is a right decision. I have nothing against Muslims, but when you move to a secular country or Christian country it appropriate to follow the rules of that country. I any of the western woman would want to live in an Arab country she would not be welcome wearing bikini in public or even on the beach, or blouses that expose her chest, which is nothing new in western countries. Our women would have to wear some head scarfs to respect Arab religion or would not want to be harassed. So, my point is, if you chose to live in western country you must adjust to their way of living, they should not have to adjust to you.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Melski

      Very well said...

      April 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • mary R

      You are correct Anna. Right on the money. A women in the middle east country should be very careful, least you look at a man or speak when not ask to. Women have been beheaded for less. Yet they come here and want to follow Shaira law only and not be Americans.

      April 11, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  16. debchuck

    I see nothing wrong with America telling everybody to forget things like face coverings that make them look different from the rest of us. If they want to wear veils and hide their faces and all of that garb, then go back to wherever they came from and wear them until their heart is content. But, here in America, we dress normally and do not hide behind veils and masks and anything else the perverts choose to wear. When in Rome, do as the Romas do!! If they want to live here, then give up all of their former life's facets and make a clean break to America. Otheriwse, shut up, sit down and get on to work.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Anna

      they are talking about France, which is in Europe, not about the US....

      April 11, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • S

      If a country says it offers religious freedom, it is not ridiculous to expect religious freedom....

      April 11, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • salvatore

      Actually, in America we have the freedom to wear whatever the heck we want, we don't all have to look "the same" or "normal".

      April 11, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
  17. chief

    i love the stupid comments about FREEDOM..... you cant walk around naked? duh... so you also cant walk around with your face totally covered

    April 11, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • achipotle

      I vote that your mama cover her face.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • bad_ju_j00

      it's to slow down YOUR inner crave to be a pedaphile.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
  18. achipotle

    Democracies don't tell women what to wear.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • YouAreSoDumb

      No, backwards religions do that.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • AP

      apparently ppl hv forgotten wat a democracy is...and freedom of religon

      April 11, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • BnB

      They don't? Well then there must be really something veeeerrrryyyyy bbbbaaaaddddd about a certain segment of their society to drive them to such extremes – care to guess? I'm sure answers will explode if you give them time and enough burqas! 😉

      April 11, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • salvatore

      Has there been a huge problem with suicide bombers in burqas in France?

      April 11, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
  19. A

    I'm talking about where the religion originated. I see multi-faith people everyday as a lot of people do. I haven't heard of a moschee being blown up in say Germany or America for example. But they killed Christians and bombed a Christian church in Egypt approx. 14 days ago.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  20. Jerry

    france has every right to defend frenchness. Im personally proud of france for standing up for their own culture. Islamic culture is beautiful, but not at the cost of french culture. france should be france, and islamic cultures should be islamic cultures.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • ro81n

      you are right. France is for french culture. Govt. of france must protect their culture. Muslim culture- how they are ,every one knows- should be in Muslim countries.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Jason

      You're an idiot.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Jake's Gay Lover

      Hey Jason, come over here...

      April 11, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • marc

      if you want to dress like that and howl at the moon 5 times a day go back to allahland....dont bring such nonsense to the west

      April 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • John Doe

      I agree 100%, if you become part of a country you should mold into its culture, not impose you own.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Rasheed

      John Doe,
      Not impose your own will upon another country? Ever asked the US, and you France by their side, what the h*ll they were up to in imposing their will upon Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, .... the list goes on and on, how many of these countries are Christian?

      April 11, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • David L.

      Jerry, you're absolutely right. France should stand up for French society, and French ideals. I'm just disappointed to find out that the French are so intolerant, and their ideals enforce tyrannical-like behavior. If the French want to stand up for behaviors very similar to the middle-eastern countries, they are doing a phenomenal job.

      April 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Well, as France wants to force French culture upon whoever is there, I'll avoid risking getting arrested for contaminating their excuse for a culture of surrender.
      I'll avoid France, even if I have to walk on the Med to do it.

      April 11, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • BnB

      There's a difference between imposing a country's will and "pay back" which all the places you named are experiencing... Say if it's such a wonderful culture then why aren't you there?

      April 11, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • salvatore

      Yeah...you really see the beauty of French culture when you travel to its former colonies. Vietnam has gorgeous cathedrals.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
    • bad_ju_j00

      West? East? really? I wonder when you are staring down on Earth, where does the West end? Where does the East end? If I remember correctly, a part of west Africa is more west than Europe. I guess France belongs to the East? say middle East?

      April 11, 2011 at 11:22 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.