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. jsdjhffjasdlkf

    Only criminals hide there faces

    April 11, 2011 at 3:55 pm |

    Its a Free Country....Fell Free to LEAVE at anytime....

    April 11, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  3. joe

    Forcing kids to be brainwashed in Sunday school is far worse than the personal practice of religion.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  4. Me Too

    Only criminals hide there faces

    April 11, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  5. Colin in Florida

    I just keep remembering the old say-'When in Rome, do as Romans do'.
    When Saudi Arabia and other extreme islamist countries start allowing women to drive, become employed in any job they desire, to attend whatever school they wish, and to simply walk down the road by themselves or with anyone they wish (i.e. normal human behavior) then burka's can be allowed in France.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  6. Marc ang

    “Take away my freedom to completely cover myself up in public”. What the heck is wrong with this picture. Don’t know about everyone else, but I’ve just about had it with the Muslim towel heads that think that if you’re not one of them, then you’re an infidel and should die. Please just go back to the dunes and make your mud pies and shut the f$%k up.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • S

      Okay, have you ever talked to a Muslim? Because I seriously doubt it from this post. You will find them to be the nicest people. I have met a Muslim doctor (a woman, at that!) who is quite nice. She's the only Muslim I've ever met, she speaks English perfectly, and I'm hardly going to hate her because of the actions of people she doesn't even know or a garment she chooses to wear (and yes, she does CHOOSE).

      April 11, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  7. John John

    If a French woman went to Saudi Arabia, she would have to wear head covering right? If you don't like France's laws, move back to your medieval, moronic, third world dirt pile and wear your burka there.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  8. JT

    So does this mean that wearing a costume to a party is banned? No, that would be silly. France is just banning wearing something for religious reasons only.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  9. cravin moorehead

    Enough!!!! Can't We all just be happy that Georgia is ticketing guys for plumbers crack?

    April 11, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  10. Sahara

    I am sick and tired of the Muslim radicalism trying to enforce their rules on other societies that provide them comfort. If you like the extreme Arab world please take your pick and go live there, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, pakistan, all the gulf countries and half of Africa is waiting for you. ehough is enough, if I can't go to Saudi Arabia and walk around in a bikini and drive a car then I am sorry but you can't wear your burqa in the west. I am sick and tired of this story, I recently went to a restaurant in a very reputable hotel and was told the tiramisu doesn't have alcohol because the arab tourists don't order it otherwise!!! really ? then they can go vacation in Riyadh. Don't throw around the words religous tolerance and freedom of speech when you don't respect it at all and try ot enforce yoru rules on others!!!!!. Oh by the way I AM MUSLIM.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • sghgh

      Well said. I was 50 / 50, torn on both sides of this issue. I can see both points, but are you 100% correct when you said – "if I can't go to Saudi Arabia and walk around in a bikini and drive a car then I am sorry but you can't wear your burqa in the west". Now you put me in a 40 / 60 spot.

      April 11, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • S

      At that point, you can no longer claim to be better than the countries you so revile if you do the same thing to a different group.

      April 11, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • naijaG

      thank you thank you thank you.

      April 11, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  11. Darrell W

    I am opposed to seeing the muslim agenda embraced by western countries. The bee-keeper outfit ban is a step in the right direction.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  12. Yousef

    I don't see any conflict. They're allowing the hair veil, it doesn't conflict with Islam I think, just with cultural interpretations or applications of the shariah.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • S

      I agree. I mean, I'm tolerant, but I can see why these would be an issue when it comes to security. And they're not even required in Islam, so these women are still free to practice their religion–just in a way that is more appropriate for the country they're living in. I can see why people would be angry about the ban, and I believe that it was, in part, passed because of Islamophobia–but, ultimately, it will not inhibit the practice of the religion.

      April 11, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  13. Resist710

    The Burka is not an Islamic custom. It's a cultural vestige. That's why some women wear it and most don't. The actual commandment is to dress modestly. You can do that even with loose fitting jeans and a t-shirt. This isn't an Islamic issue, it's a cultural one.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  14. Charles Darwin

    The French should start letting muslim women wear burka's when the Saudi's start letting them wear bikinis.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  15. abidngdude

    Dave, you're missing the crux of Frank's point, that western nations and cultural traditions are, for lack of a better term, "ours." We are culturally different from the Muslim world. The "tolerance" you love to throw around is cute and fuzzy, but really all it's done form France and the rest of Wester Europe is let in a Trojan horse of cultural change that the locals don't want. It's not a crime against humanity to dislike someone. France isn't executing these folks. If they don't like it, they should relocate to a land where they fit in.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Hang em high

      I totally agree with you and I wish the U.S. would do the same, but this is a place with more B.S. that any other part of the world, here in the U.S. the bigger the crime the more you get rewarded. It's all politics!!!

      April 11, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  16. omar

    The faceless people need to be uplifted and be made human beings with FACES that one can recognize as not ZOMBIES.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  17. adfdf

    A New York artist got arrested for being naked.
    I don't see the difference for the total opposite.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • sghgh

      Seriously? That's a total different category. The purpose of the ban on the burqua is to be able to identify the people. The person getting arrested for being naked was for inappropriate behavior. No one wants to see a naked man running around.

      April 11, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • adfdf

      One is indecent exposure the other one is indecent covering. Why indecent? One is aesthetic and the other is security.
      All depends on what the society as a whole feels.

      April 11, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  18. rawrer

    Viva la France!

    April 11, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  19. Bye-Bye Burka

    Not for nothing but look at the news now about the "peaceful muslins"....they are all crazy....and by the looks of the news reports.....violent and crazy!!!!

    April 11, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  20. wordhead

    For those who comment that this burqa ban infringes on our freedoms, note that traffic lights & stop signs do the same thing. These "infringements" are necessary so we as a society can better function as a whole. Seeing the faces of people by banning burqas is necessary to ensure a minimum level of security.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • David L.

      This is a completely groundless comparison. Driving on public roads is a privilege granted to us by our government. Your freedom to express yourself is a right, granted to you at birth. Take some time to study the difference between rights and privileges, then tell me if you think your argument holds any water.

      April 11, 2011 at 4:04 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.