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. omar

    If NOBEL PRIZE is introduced for countries of the world like individuals, I shall vote for France for the prize – the single reason that the frenchmen have the courage to ban BURQA from public places. It is indeed the master stroke of the french people and their president to get rid of human degradation eternally.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  2. Deborah R

    When I visited Morocco in the late 1980's, no one told me what I could or could not wear. No one demanded that I conform to a level of modesty practiced by most women in that country at that time, although our tour direction did respectfully suggest that we might want to dress a little more modestly than the average American dresses in August, but he stressed that it was not required.

    So why can't the French respect a Muslim woman's right to dress as she sees fit? She's not asking other French women to wear a niqab.

    Those of you who have no problem with this law would probably scream to high heaven if a non-Christian country made it illegal to wear a crucifix on a chain or whatever.

    It's a shameful law and the people of France should be ashamed for allowing it to stand.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  3. a periz

    To answer the comment of nuns wearing their 'Habits'
    Nuns DO NOT cover their faces and the Frenchy Government is not asking you to shed your clothes, just reveal your faces. When in Rome do as the Romans do - or make a quick exit into the land of Veils..

    April 11, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  4. ShariaLawyer

    GO FRANCE! Show these men of will what will is! The Burqa is perhaps the most dehumanizing concept ever presented throughout the entirety of human history. I will rip it right the FLICK off of any woman who I see wearing it in the United States of America. Don't bring your crap slavery face covering to my soil and expect to be able to rock it like a boss. Like I said rip it RIGHT off of any woman who I see wearing one in the United States. FRANCE I am proud of you! DO NOT BACK DOWN TO THE FUNDAMENTALIST STONE AGE THUGS!

    April 11, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  5. M. A.

    I agree with the Law and I wish we would do it in our country and I don't live in U.S.A. If they want to keep their dark age mentality then stay home. I am sick and tired of people wanted us to change to accommodate them. What about living with our rules and regulations. I don't believe this issue has anything to do with Religious freedom.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  6. Siesta Beach

    I think there is a time and place to practice your own particular religious beliefs. If someone wants to live in America they should respect American standards. I am sick an tired of hearing and reading about Muslims. We need to get out of these stupid wars and start spending our tax money on infrastructure and education & health. I wish Muslims/Arabs, etc would stay in their own country and leave us alone.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  7. Peter

    Its funny to hear one of these ladies talk about 'revealing' re: French govt.. when it is their religion that has ironically oppressed them through making them walk anywhere in total seclusion and forced this issue of national distrust by evidence of non-assimilation both culturally and by not condemning oppressive or violent aspects of the societies they immigrate from.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  8. Shinea

    The other half of Freedom OF Religion is Freedom FROM Religion. Some of you seem to be having a problem understanding that point. It is not "liberty" to allow the males of one small sect of Islam to SUBJUGATE their females. Don't bother telling me how the women "want" to be subjugated. Tell the women who were stoned to death for not wearing their burqas why they died! I'm sure they really appreciate the "freedom" they had to wear their symbol of religious subjugation ... or they would if they weren't DEAD! If you want to subjugate your women, move to a primitive country where it is allowed.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  9. yasir

    Any ideology which discriminates and oppresses women, minorities shall not be appreciated. In fact it should be discouraged. As a 19 year old muslim, I welcome this ban. Plus, the burqa is more of a cultural thing mostly related to arabs and middle eastern cultures. It is not right to generalize it as Islamic.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  10. a periz

    Hope all Western Countries follow the lead -

    April 11, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  11. a periz


    April 11, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  12. Amit

    2000 Ugly women in France.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  13. road

    Simple solution: Burka wearers, leave France. Leave this oppressive regime and move to a country that accepts your beliefs and views like Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria etc. And accept what comes with that move-beheadings, torture, acid throwing and severe degradation of women's rights to name a few because this is what you symbolize when you wear your burkas in most western civilized countries.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • Steve


      April 11, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  14. David L.

    I'm getting a little tired of people quoting "When in Rome...." It's clear that these people have no idea behind the original intent of that saying, and I'm willing to bet that most of these people have any idea who even wrote it.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  15. TwinPack

    I don't care what any one thinks of my opinion but to me it is really stupid to wear a long, hot garment in the middle of summer. And to see those women wearing full coverings at the beach! How in the name of Summer do you swim? Wait, I don't even want to know. As a woman I can tell you any women who wears a head or body covering to protect herself against looking eyes is just trying to set societies' clock of enlightenment back a couple of hundred years. Oh well, to each her own. But don't expect me to ever respect the likes of you.

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

      You might want to take the time to learn about the true purpose of the burqa before dismissing what remains an important part of Muslim culture. The burqa was never intended to limit the the rights of Muslim women. It was adopted in order to counteract misogyny in mainstream society. When a women's face is covered, prospective male employers can't judge her based on her appearance. I'm not saying I necessarily agree with it, and I definitely don't think it should be forced upon anyone, but I can accept and appreciate its use.

      April 11, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Sad but true

      Sorry dude, your position is so far fetched that not even you can believe it. It was not invented to prevent discrimination from employers as in the days of it's adaptation women were not allowed to work or even be in the same space as a man who was not a member of her own family. It was used as a device to keep the men from lusting. Nothing more, nothing less!

      April 11, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  16. how dare you!

    Yeah we really want to live in your country because we Like what you did with it – 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 you weaklings.
    Remember Serbia? 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 dysfunctional homeland where we don't want to be anymore!

    April 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  17. keegle

    I think any country has the right to say "We need to see your face in public" How can you id someone if they commit a crime? What color were they? I dont know. What color hair did they have? I dont know. What color shirt were they wearing? Well it was blue but it wasn't really a shirt. What color eyes? I dont know. were you able to see any facial scars or tattoos? I could not see their entire head sir.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • David L.

      Valid point, and probably to the point of the issue more than most of the people who support this law. But let me ask you, where do you draw the line? I have a beard, but not always. I wear baseball caps, but not always. I wear big aviator glasses, but not always. If you happen to catch me on a day where I have a big, bushy, beard, am wearing my sunglasses, and have a baseball cap on, should I be fined? Is it illegal to wear some, or all of these things? Also, I live in Chicago. During the bitter, windy winters, I wear a scarf over my face, a winter hat on my head, and occasionally, if its bright, I'll put sunglasses on. There is absolutely no way that anybody could ID me, does that mean I'm not allowed to do what I think I need to do to keep warm?

      April 11, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  18. emeljudeparra

    Islamicos retrasados de la mente y no saben Que vivimos en el 2011 y Que FRANCIA es un pais no Islamic. Estos musulmanes piensan Que Europa es taliban. Nunca los musulmanes an produsido algo Bueno para la Humanidady nunca an imventado algo Bueno para el bien del mundo. Europa si a hecho buena cosas para el bien del mundo

    April 11, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  19. Just Some Guy

    I can believe how many intolerant comments there are on this article. One great thing about the U.S. is religious freedom and people being able to practice their religion as long as it doesn't hurt anyone. Sad will be the day when the U.S. governments force its people to not wear certain rings, hats, or shirts because it has a religious significance. I, myself, am Christian and I feel that this is nothing short of discrimination.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • adfdf

      What if I say my religious belief is to be naked?

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

      It's not banned because it's a religious garment. It's banned because you cannot be identified when you wear it. This is not religious intolerance. It's accepting that as part of living in society you must be able to be identified in public. It's the same thing as wearing a ski mask into a bank.

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

      The legal action is for benefit of France's national security. Oh, boo hoo...not warm fuzzy enough for you?

      April 11, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • TwinPack

      Excellent point, adfadf.

      April 11, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • AL00002002

      islam is not merely a religion – it is a complete ideology that goes far beyond the relationship between man and god. As such, you need to treat is as a political system/ideology. If you're OK with objections to fascism, communism, totalitarianism, then you should be OK with objection to islam.

      April 11, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Doug

      This case is a question of compelling state interest. In the U.S., we have certain laws that transcend religious freedom as long as that purpose does serve a secular purpose. It's the Lemon test. With that being said, I do believe that this law is morally impermissible in any society founded on Liberalism. Sure, there is a need to be able to identify individuals in public places, but the banning of burqas in public is a vast extension and abuse of any case for compelling state interest. It sets bad precedence.

      April 11, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  20. finally!

    please let France stay french! We really like the culture and history you have and what you made with it!
    Don't let it become another Yugoslavia – those who can't appreciate and respect the hospitality and laws of their new home do not deserve it.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:08 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.