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. Dennis

    Tres bien France! Great joob. England and US please be next in line.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  2. David

    Many people on this post seem confused about what the Qu’ran actually says about the Veil. There is also a lot of confusion about Sharia law. It can be complicated. Unless you have some experience with the many different cultures in the Middle East, and the many different interpretations of the Qu’ran it is easy to pick the most radical one and assume that is what most people believe. It is not.
    I have been to the Middle East and talked with women from Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Oman, Syria, Kuwait, and many other countries. Like women anywhere in the world they hold many different opinions on wearing the veil. Many of them told me they like wearing the veil. Many However, felt strongly a woman should choose if the wants to wear it based on her individual desire to express her individuality or religion or whatever reason SHE decides. This is the case in most countries. However it is not the case in all countries. Many Christian women in the Middle East wear the veil too.
    We all know that many countries have strange laws. However, the politics of a country rarely represent the true Islam. Islam is a wonderful religion and to know it is to know its beauty. Like all religions and religious scripture humans have twisted it to advance an agenda.
    Many people like to point to the actions of terrorist as the definitive representation of Islam. To them I ask, what does one have to do to be a Muslim? (I ask the same question of Christians) If one says he is a Muslim or a Christian then commits acts that are heretical to Islam or Christianity, are they still a Muslims? Are they still a Christian? No they are not.
    It is easy to forget that many horrific acts have been committed by people who claimed to be Christians. Somehow most people do not have a problem separating those acts from the true religion. But rarely do I see a person afford that same objective detachment to someone who claims to be a Muslims but clearly does not act in accordant to the faith.
    I just don’t understand why people have to demonize Islam. If you take the time to really investigate it objectively you would see how the radials that call themselves Muslims are not Muslims at all. Then you would be able to look at Islam in a completely different light. I am not a Muslim, but I consider Muslims my brothers and sister. Inshallah, we will all learn to get over our human flaws and live in peace.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • ZeeMan

      @ David. Thank you for speaking so eloquently about the vast majority of Muslims. I could not have said it better myself. You and all Christians/Jews/other religions are my brothers and sisters as well. Only ignorance and hate are our enemy, may it come from any quarter.

      April 11, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  3. capt_dragon

    I think we should allow Muslim women to wear these towel concoction because most of them are f ugly. Plus they can be easily identified as the enemy. Further more, we should force our ugly women to wear them as well for the same reasons.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  4. TexaStar

    Those are their laws... period. Respect them or go home; or don't respect them and pay the penalty. Simple.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  5. S. Durham

    Congradulations to the people of France for banning the burqua. It is ridiculous to give in to muslims who want to push their religion and "sharia" laws on non-muslim countries. If France and other countries don't stop these people, their culture will be erroded. If they still want to wear a burqa, then they can go back to their country of origin.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  6. Proudgeek

    Hey, some ugly people don't want to be identified! 🙂

    April 11, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  7. UDLaw

    The fact that anyone would assert that France and the United States should deny people the right to religious freedom simply because Saudi Arabia does it exposes the fact that you folks have lost sight of what Western Civilation means. If people leave the middle east to pursue a more peaceful way of life in societies that are supposed to be tolerant, then we have failed as civilized cultures when we deny people the right to wear a garment under the protection of religious freedom. Do I trust all Muslims? No, but I am certainly not going to deny innocent women the right to exercise their religious or cultural beliefs in a peaceful way. If a woman hides a bomb or straps dynamite to her chest in the name of Allah and uses the garment to hide the explosives, then we can discuss a ban.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  8. I'm just saying

    People need to respect the customs of their host country. If I lived in an Arab country where most women covered their heads, I would do so out of respect for their customs. Wearing a complete burka has very negative connotation in western countries that range from subjucation of women to terrorist. I feel like even with the world becoming more global, societies should be able to maintain their sense of self; otherwise the entire world will eventually look the same.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  9. Sandy

    Two thumbs up for France!!!!!

    April 11, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  10. Sandy

    Ship them back; if they want to wear the stupid veils, burkha, whatever the hell they call it. If they are already from France they can feel free to go live elsewhere. Bunch of fanatic people who like to impose their stupid habits on the Western civilizations. Leave France NOW!
    So hope the US follow this new law!

    April 11, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  11. ikagan

    G-D Bless the French goverment for having the balls to pass this law!!!!! I wish other countries would do the same.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  12. inasnit

    VIVA LE FRANCE! Wish we had the guts to do that here. You won't get respect from me for your insulting religious doctrines......put all their men in plastic bags with a twisty and THEN we'll talk about religious freedom and respect!

    April 11, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  13. Dennis

    Ship them back; if they want to wear the stupid veils, burkha, whatever the hell they call it. If they are already from France they can feel free to go live elsewhere. Bunch of fanatic people who like to impose their stupid habits on the Western civilizations. Leave France NOW!
    So hope the US follow this new law!

    April 11, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  14. mikzy

    I absolutely despise Western self-righteousness, we in the West are complacent in the objectification of women but are some how outraged when a woman wants to cover her body. What is the difference between letting a woman wear a bikini to show how "free" she is versus a woman choosing modesty, even in a form some of us might find extreme. Westerners claim to be enlightened but by these actions and comments I can see that their advancement is minimal. The hypocrisy is almost laughable, Western nations have enforced their way of life and government on the entire planet but won't take for one second a woman expressing different values. I thought Western nations were supposed to stand for freedom, but it is clear to me that freedom is limited to what people can stomach in these so-called "free" nations. Western nations would not have the problem pesky Muslims had they left the rest of the world alone but alas they keep insisting their knowledge over inferior ways of thinking as their economies fail and they poison the sky with toxins from industrialization. So if Western nations truly want to advocate for freedom then advocate for these women to be free no matter what nation they are in and stop insisting that they know more about other individuals than the individual knows about herself.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • Sad but true

      I agree and disagree with you. I have no problems with one's faith, cultural practices or customs. But I have always been told to paraphrase, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." As a woman, a visit to some Muslim societies will give you an outright shock. In Saudi Arabia a woman – no matter where she is from – has to be covered when in a public space and is not allowed to drive. Defiance means imprisonment and deportation. In other societies a girl who is rapped can be imprisoned or terminated.

      Many have fled from there homelands in search of a new life. I understand that no one should ever abandon their culture but one cannot expect to move to a different country and expect the status quo to stay the same. That's being a bigott! Ask yourself, why are you there in the first place?

      April 11, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  15. finally!

    Yeah we really want to live in your country because we Like how it is here – but Of Course we want to bring ALL Our insanity along ... so after we breed like rabbits, in a few decade we can demand our own laws because We'll be the dominant ethnic group. But thanks for letting us in.
    Remember Yugoslavia? Yup – France can be a Muslim state in no time as well! And don't you Dare say anything – we'll be terribly offended and start riots ... as a thank you for letting us escape our Original f*-up homeland where we don't want to be anymore!

    April 11, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  16. LogaWon

    We should have the same laws here in America. Many iof these women are terrorists just waiting to strike. Thank God I can legally pack heat in Florida! I would not hesitate to use my weapon if one of these clowns make any threatening moves against anybody in my area.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • mikzy

      You're a fool and you will be the cause of your own oppression

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

      Better to be judged my 12 than carried by 6. You won 't be talking about foolish thins when you are not able to stand up and defend yourself.

      April 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  17. BigNickDigger

    Now, if only the world would BAN the worldwide terrorist organization masquerading as a religion, we'd all be happy campers.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  18. Abdul

    Some of the comments here are sad...go back to your country? Would your head explode if you found out some of these woman are from France? compare these respectable covering woman to nuns...would you tell a nun to take off her clothes? funny in France and America if a woman wants to completly reveal herself or walk around half naked with her breast and bottom popping out it is okay but when a woman wants cover herself out of diginity and respect for her Lord you critize her...who is backward thinking? you can tell the morals of a country by first looking at its woman...some thing to think about

    April 11, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • BigNickDigger

      Hmm ya darn for the life of me I just can't remember when a "nun" walked into a crowded square and detonated herself killing many, many innocent persons.

      April 11, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Sam

      You are so right, ".. you can tell the morals of a country by first looking at its woman ..". You can see how women are treated and the kind of freedom they have in some of these countries and judge them.

      April 11, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • Donna

      There is covering ones body out of respect for themselves, but to hide themselves from the world as a none person is wrong. There has to be a medium to this not just to see one extreme to explain the other extreme.

      April 11, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • capt_dragon

      @abdul: you're confusing "...out of diginity and respect for her Lord..." with "...out of fear of being beaten if they don't wear it".

      April 11, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Amy

      Abdul, you cannot tell a country by its women, that is as ignorant a statement as the hillbillys who know nothing of Islam but speak as if they do.

      April 11, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Jack

      Well to start nuns don't cover their face. France is not banning full body coverings. Only face coverings. And if nuns wanted to cover their masks into a bank, I would be very much against that. France is not banning clothes, or Islam, or morals. Only face coverings in public areas.
      In "western" countries women are allowed to wear what they want. They can cover up if they want, or they can not cover up. The moral failings of the west lay not in society, but in the individual. A culture that forces dress codes for fear of punishment is cruel and oppressive. In the west, one is free to wear what they want. But even then there are laws. A person cannot show their genitalia openly, and in most countries women cannot show their bare breasts and bottoms unless in a designated area. A person’s free choice to wear their desired clothes is limited by law though. For instance in the US it is against the law to wear a ski mask into a bank. But it is also illegal for an adult to be naked in a school. This is just enforcement of what should be an obvious law. People should not be allowed to regularly wear masks in public squares, Muslim or otherwise. – its dangerous

      April 11, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Carol

      Abdul, Is that so? Why do you have to judge a country based on what women wear? Instead, let's judge a country based on what they DON'T allow women to do... for example, work, drive, vote, get an education or walk without a male accompaniment. If you have an issue looking at a woman with her breasts out, that is 'YOUR' problem. Why is it okay for you, as a male, to do as you please? More issues are caused by men than women because men cannot control themselves. As for this ban – these are our values, and our beliefs and it's worked fine for us. If you come to a country where you cannot stand a cultures values, and our beliefs, you should not come and instead stay where you are. Live in your country where you can segregate and marginalize women. Don't come to a place like America, Canada or EU and bring those 13th century barbaric values.

      April 11, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • David

      Asalam Alakuim -Abdul,
      It is hard for people to use their brains when they are filled with anger. Islam is a wonderful religion; a religion of peace. People have twisted the word of God (Allah) since the beginning. All religions have a history of this. Somehow people are willing to forget the bad acts done in the name of Christianity. The people that committed those acts are not true Christians. We all know that. Christianity is a religion of peace. However, they simply cannot give Islam that same objectivity.
      As a Christian I will always choose to stand beside my Muslim brothers and sisters. That is what Allah(God) would want me to do.

      April 11, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Diffusser

      I need to point out 2 things. We respect u r custom, give the current atmosphere caused by terrorist, it is only logical to ask you to show your face in public ... we aint askin u tp take off u r cloth... Think about it

      April 11, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • I'm just saying

      Abdul, its not about covering the body, its about covering the face...and for many westerners this carries a very negative connotation ranging from subjudguation of women to terrorism. I really dont believe that anyone should be able to wallk the streets with covered faces in western societies any more than I believe I should be able to walk around in a bikini in Iraq.

      April 11, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  19. Mir

    The face covering Veil (Burkha) has no basis in Islam, it is more traditional and is not dictated by Islam. Islam requires the women to cover the body and leave the face and hands open, this was told by the Holy Prophet himself. The face veil is a personal choice and is nothing islamic about it.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • BigNickDigger

      While you were soldering the wires on that vest your making – did you miss the fact that you used absolute terms describing this so called "peaceful religion"? When you know d*mn well it's a terror based organization maquerading as a religion.

      April 11, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  20. Jimmy Crack Corn

    Do you think they use a red or green light saber?

    April 11, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • LogaWon

      If they had one how would you kn ow, hiding behind that disguise?

      April 11, 2011 at 2:58 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.