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. Buns Mccallister

    So.. Im still allowed to wear my balls on the outside of my jeans right??? No ban in France yet I hope.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Dave

      Jeremy is that you?

      April 11, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Buns Mccallister

      yes it is your son Jeremy...

      April 11, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  2. nokoolaidcowboy

    What's insane is when they try to wear it for their ID photos and driver's license. that jus doesn't make any sense.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  3. barbara

    If Muslim women refuse to abide by this law they may soon find their visas, or pending citizenship cancelled. It may also hinder other Muslims trying to immigrate to France.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  4. meme


    April 11, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  5. D-man5005

    you know, there is nothing in the Islamic religion that requires women to cover their faces. Hair and body yes; faces, no. These women are either trying to make a big deal out of this, or are ignorant to their religion. Also, it ticks me off how the woman being interviewed doesn't even speak French, but instead Arabic. Stop going into other countries just so you can change it. learn to assimilate. (I live overseas and attempt to learn the languages. It's not great, but at least I try)

    April 11, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Jason

      Agreed. I lived in Germany for a year and spoke only German. Took classes in German. Learned to live as a European. Enough so that people thought I was German/European.

      They need to learn how to live in a society that has security in public places.

      April 11, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  6. Steve-O

    Stupid religion, stupid custom...ban them world wide!

    April 11, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  7. Guest

    France has EVERY right to impose this just like Saudi Arabia has the right to impose the same on non-Muslim women on their soil.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  8. Ace

    I applaud France for having the courage to enact this law. It's about time someone sends thees religious wackos a clear message. If it were me, I would ban all outward signs of all religions in public places (crucifix, star of david, yamacas, etc..). After all religion is simply the #1 problem with the world today. This is a first step to a more secular society.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  9. Truefax

    Why the fuss? Muslim women can't cover their faces during their Hajj pilgramage so why is this an issue.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  10. JJ

    I'm just wondering if i can still wear my full ninja outfit.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  11. Diana

    I am not French but I say "Viva La France" You got it right! These are your laws...and if someone wants to live in that country they need to abide by them....period.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  12. Buns Mccallister

    Cool cant wait to see ehat outfits the Burkah police will be wearing. Maybe big neon crosses. thats hot!

    April 11, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  13. WHat?

    If they are making blanket laws on how people look in public. The next law should be no fatties. If your 20lbs over weight you can't come out in public. Fat people are very offensive to me.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Boodge

      you must hate looking in the mirror.

      April 11, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Andy

      Fat people aren't trying to blow up people in the name of a god. BIG difference

      April 11, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Dave

      The law isn't concerned with how you look, just so long as you are identifiable. Sorry it doesn't fit your argument. Try again.

      April 11, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  14. K.C.

    Interesting..In their own male dominated countries the women must cover up and many are fighting it. Now, in France - they must rremove some of this gear, and they are fighting to keep it on.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  15. suzy

    if they aren't forced to wear it, then why are they wearing it? i agree, we should be able to see peoples faces for security reasons.

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

    I don't care one bit how "offended" or what their beliefs are that these people have to take off their burqa. The law exists because of the world we live in. Guess who you can thank for that. Just another way for cowardice radicals to hide to carry out their terrorist acts. There's a reason for this law and it;s rpetty obvious why we need it. I wish AMERICA would stop catering to the whining few and start enforcing laws like France's to keep us safe.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Noor Lodi

      None of the 911 bombers were wearing a Niqab or a Hijab (Head scarf).You idiot. You demonstrate people who can read and write can have a negative IQ.

      April 11, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Dave

      Noor that would be because they were all MEN... if only they were as dumb as you and they did wear thier head scarf crap, then maybe they would have been caught...

      April 11, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • AB12345

      Noor Lodi, there is nothing in the French Law that provides for the banning of the hijab. This law is not about religious persecution, it is about security. This law is exactly the same as not being able to wear a motorcycle helmet in a bank (however, there are no violent threats and protests from motorcycle aficionados).

      April 11, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  17. Sassan

    The reason why Iranian people today are good people (not the barbaric regime but the people themselves) is because Reza Shah our former great King (father of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi) forced women not to wear the evil in public. Not just covering their face, but even their hair! He first brought his own daughter and wife on TV to show this and made it is a law that the veil become illegal. For this reason, Iranians are good and secular people and not radical Muslims like Afghans or Saudis. Again, the people themselves not the barbaric and primitive regime..

    April 11, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  18. mjboston

    As my dad used to tall me: While you live under my roof, you follow my rules! "

    April 11, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Dave

      Apparently your dad didn't tall you much about the English language, how one should begin and end quotations, etc etc.

      April 11, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Dave

      Or about Spelling dave? I would hate for my dad to "tall" me what to do under his roof.....

      April 11, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  19. DanoMcRoo

    In the near future, after the creation and empowerment of the world government, one of it's first orders of business should be the eradication and banning of all religious practices, the demolition of all structures built for religious reasons, and the imposition of severe penalties for the display or possession of religious symbols. There is no place in a modern society for such antiquated thinking.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • appalled

      I'm with you!

      April 11, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • tati

      Study history – it was already done in Russia. See the results. You should be embarassed – unless you are 15 – then it is OK.

      April 11, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • ShamanNora

      I agree with you. It is complete ignorance to think this is submission to god – if that were the case these women should be running around naked as the day they were born. And, don't go into another country and then dictate what that country should or should not do. If these women so need to twist reality so that up is down and freedom is limitation, then they should go to a Muslim nation to live. End of story – kick 'em out.

      April 11, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Jeremy

      Me too. Religion holds us back as a species and I find it offensive that we, the rational intelligent of the world, have to even have a conversation regarding magical spirits and the like in the year 2011. We should look down on people who practice rational thought neglect the same way I'd look down on anyone who regularly has to talk to themselves to solve their life problems.

      April 11, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Dave

      I wonder how an Islamic country would act if someone had a religion whereby all of the women were mandated to be naked? Would Islam honor it?

      April 11, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • iminim

      Intolerance in the name of religion or in the name of atheism is equally wrong. Can you not see that you comment is as hate filled and wrong as you seem to think all religions are? Just like any religion, atheism can be a tool for evil or for good. Your comment is a very good example or how atheism can be just as intolerant as any religion. Dogmatic and intolerant fundamentalism, whether it comes in a religious, political or atheistic disguise, is often a breeding ground for acts of violence. The best way to combat it is being open to critical thinking about whatever you or others believe. There is no religion, including the "religion" or atheism, that is perfect and without flaws.

      April 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Exyi

      Really ????

      We wish you totalitarian people go craw back under your rock and never come out again

      April 11, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  20. hp

    France as a country has an absolute right to ask these people not to ware masks in public. even children will be scared of seeing them waring these rediclious dressing. to me if somebody wishes to live in outside muslim countries they have to obey all the laws and customes of that country otherwise they must go back to their own origins and live happily everafter.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:07 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.