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. 12-21-12

    This is awesome! If you want to wear that crap, stay in those backwards middle age...I mean middle eastern countries!

    April 11, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  2. Barbara from Louisiana

    After reading that France has banned the burqa being worn in public and also listening to the story of the two American women, I have the following opinion. In America we have religious freedom, and this freedom should be totally unrestricted unless it harms people. I do not believe that Islam harms people, but I do believe that fanatics in many religions take unfair advantage of their "supposed" belief in God when they harm / kill others. I believe the Muslim women should be able to dress modestly, but I DO NOT believe that their face should be covered. There is a great distance between being covered from head to toes, excluding the face and hands, and low cut blouses & jeans written about.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  3. Jack Ass

    It's because most french women are hot , and they dont want to leave any stone unturned, so to speak

    April 11, 2011 at 11:43 am |
  4. Carol

    In MO you can't go into a bank with your head covered, wearing sunglasses, or packing a gun. This is because of Security, it has nothing to do with a persons liberty, everything to do with securing the Bank, people in it, and the peoples money that is put there. In Florida you cannot wear anything on your face when you have a drivers license picture taken. It's for security! They can keep their long clothes and kerchiefs on, but the faces should be seen in any country. A law is to be obeyed as well as peoples religious laws. Someones face covered should not cause people to lose their lives or end up handicapped for the rest of their life.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • don't be a sucker

      the bank thing is interesting, i kinda agree with the no head covering or sunglasses but still think it should be a banks personal policy not state law....but i'm for carrrying a gun because what better place to rob someone for their cash than outside a bank ?...still falls under personal policy though

      I refuse to shop at any store that doesn't allow concealed carry, gun laws don't seeing as how criminals don't follow laws anyway

      April 11, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • Patrick

      So tell me, Carol, do you honestly think that MO law will deter one single bank robber? Do you seriously believe that law will cause even one potential bank robber to think "Darn, I'd really love to rob this bank but I'm not allowed by law to wear a mask or carry a gun." ? The short answer is NO. The only people it will affect are the law abiding people who carr a gun and would never think of robbing a bank in the first place. It's not at all about security as you say, but all about CONTROL.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  5. Joe Doe

    I be glad to show my middle finger to all islam/muslim people even their kids too.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • 12-21-12

      I agree with the French law, but you are just a racist and an idiot!

      April 11, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  6. DLN

    I have a question: How is the law actually written: Does it ban ANY device that covers the face or does it only apply to religious (specifically Muslim burqas and niqabs) garb that covers the face? If it is the first, then fine, anyone should be able to accept that as it puts the same and equal requirements/limitations on everyone. But if it is the later, then it is simply Islamaphobia, which is wrong.

    Why can't the media provide specific information so we can make informed decisions?

    April 11, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  7. Joe Doe

    Get the muslim/islam people evicted out of Europe and live in Middle East where they belong.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • 12-21-12

      and let's send all american born people with a drop of african blood BACK to africa.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Elias

      How about we evicted all non Native American Indian, back to where they belong!

      April 11, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • zeda

      there are no "native americans". Natives immigrated from Asia or other countries and settled here centuries ago. Once you rid America of the blacks, whites, modern asians and hispanics, should we evict the "natives" because they stole the country from the Mastodons? Assuming they lived here at the time. This argument is lame.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  8. Tom

    I see a lot of people using the same words as others, which I find it discusting. Your solution is deport them all, what a shame to hear these kind of racist remarks, especially in this day and age. I agree people should follow the laws of the country, but I also believe in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, human rights, etc. and I guess France can't tell other Countries to respect peaceful protests and not arrest any and detain someone who has protested peacefully. What do we do with a person who converted to Islam or was born there, do we deport them as well or do you think it is a solution, I don't think so.
    If you ask most Canadians about Quebec and there history, you will see what they say about them and maybe you might think differently. I love Quebec and respect the people of Quebec, but we are setting a bad precident. France should be more tollerant than that and respect all religions.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • JohnCBarclow

      *racism is actually a good thing

      April 11, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • 1 viper

      Grow up Tom and use your head.

      April 11, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  9. JohnCBarclow

    I wonder how long it will take Muslims to blow something up to express their anger over this law.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • Jack Ass


      April 11, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Exyi

      Prolly as long as it takes someone raciest as you to bad mouth a religion !!!

      April 11, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  10. Joe Doe

    People will think at the bank...IT IS a bank robbers!

    April 11, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  11. fisheswithbears

    Best comment on this subject all day!

    April 11, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  12. Mbane

    Thumbs up to France! If someone really wants to wear that, they are free to go anywhere they want, except for France. Simple as that! In France they will have to go by French law. Plus the Burqa is not a religious item. People just perceive it to be.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • 12-21-12

      BINGO!!! Hey Robert Crumb, I'm comin ta join ya!

      April 11, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  13. labandme

    Why not go one step further and ban the muslim cult? At least they'll have their country back.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  14. Trevor

    This is why I love the French. "Be like us or get out!" They actually have the %$^^# to tell muslims what to do, where as we live in fear of them and would rather deep fry our testicles than offend them.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • Mavent

      Yeah, Americans would NEVER insist that other people behave exactly like Americans, right? (In case you missed the irony, genius, that's exactly what you just did in your post.)

      April 11, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • 12-21-12

      Come on Mega Millions, I want a French Villa in the country so I can smoke blunts and drink wine until 12-21-12.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:48 am |
  15. Jimbo


    April 11, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  16. BoyWithExtraNut

    It is my religion that when I see women in a burka, I am supposed to show them my extra nut. Next thing you know, the French will be trying to ban my religious practices as well. It's just not fair!

    April 11, 2011 at 11:34 am |
  17. fisheswithbears

    Yeah .. but how would know the photo around the chest is the actual photo of the face behind the burka? You wouldn't. If I have to get my mug on my D.L then they do too!

    April 11, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  18. Teacher PA

    OK first of all, this is france not USA Justicejim...what does this have to do about teachers...try teaching for one day at my school and we'll see how you do. If people would actually READ this article they'd realize that nothing but the full face mask is prohibited and the reason is for IDENTIFICATION purposes...people need to learn to read. The safety of the public sometimes outweighs the religious needs of others. (Would you allow human sacrifice? Torture? Stoning? No so...sometimes freedom has its limits, even here in the good ol' USA.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • adamb

      so this article doesn't mention it, but the real reason this law was proposed was not identification, but that is one of the reasons that is being used to justify the law. The real reason is because France is a secular nation and do not want overt religious symbols being portrayed. I believe I also read something about a French stance against yamika's (this goyem has no idea how to spell that...) which has nothing to do with identification and only religious affiliation. Religion should be practiced in the privacy of your home, keep it to yourself. go France on this one

      April 11, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • zeda

      adamb I support what you said. France and America are not the same. France is a secular country and the have every right in the world to impose secular laws on their people. It would be more difficulty in America because it is not known as a secular country.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  19. herpyderpy

    How about a compromise? The women can wear a burka, but they have to wear a life-size photograph of their face on their chests? That way the women can cover their faces and be identified at the same time. See, what I do is try to find solutions to problems rather than just complaining about problems. I think the world would be a better place if more people were like me. See? There I go again with my solutions. I'm awesome.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Mbane

      How is that a solution? I could cover myslef and find a picture of anyone on google and post it on my chest. How can you tell that's not me if you can't see me?

      April 11, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Thinking7

      Won't work if someone puts a face of someone else on their shirt.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Chris

      charlie...? Is that you?

      April 11, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • douglas

      I think your dry sense of humor was lost on some here. I thought it was funny.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Dukes


      April 11, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Truth

      Awesome idea!!!! You are the best!!!!

      April 11, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Give to me a Break

      Freakin hilarious!!

      April 11, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Tim Win

      Wearing a photo is not a good idea. They can wear someone else's picture ! I agree 100% with this law and hope we have one in America too.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • Exyi

      FAIL ! ! !

      April 11, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • 1 viper

      That's a silly solution because, you don't know if the face matches the photo and, how recent is the photo. You being rediculous.

      April 11, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  20. fisheswithbears

    They don't even want to remove the things for Driver Lic. Photos. Explain that!

    April 11, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Mavent

      Okay, I'll explain it: the number of Muslim women who "don't want to remove their burka even for drivers license photos" is roughly the same as the number of Deep South Evangelicals that think snake–handling and speaking in tongues is a vital part of their religion. And yet I'd bet you'd be fairly upset if the media was constantly trying to paint ALL Christians as snake–handling lunatics.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • iPwn

      maybe you can also explain why this is in the belief section when burqas have nothing to do with religion.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • Mobi

      That is cool... They dont have to drive it isnt a right you know.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • weasel

      Mavent your facts may be right on numbers (I can't verify that) but the analogy does not fit at all.

      One is a loon playing with snakes. The other is a person allowing themselves to be hidden.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • 1 viper

      I know. That's asking for trouble.

      April 11, 2011 at 3:04 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.