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. American Muslim

    This surely will send a message. As a Muslim, I had never been told that women have to cover their whole body. No one I know in my family wears it. This isn't Islamic, but unfortunately many Muslim countries haven't gotten out of their filthy, oppression ways.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Hilo, HI

      It would be interesting to know if any French national Muslims publicly supported a similar view as yours.
      Personally, I want to support people's right to worship whoever they are, however they do it -but then the whack-os come out, oppressors of women, world domination through over-population, hatred of gays -whatever, whoever else etc etc, from all walks of belief -and I want them gone.
      Glad to hear your balanced words.

      April 11, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  2. Narsima Rao

    All religions are great. However, our faith should not interfere with our progress. Politics is making them bad. Equal rights for Men and women are important for our progress. I hope Muslim Men will honor this and take their religion to new hope and hights. France is the greatest country in the world to do this first. I love France to do this. It is not about religion. It's all about women freedom. As a man, I agree women are better off than men. Their freedom is at our own advantage and progress. I love my wife, daughter, mom and my sister. Their freedom and happiness is a lot to us. Come on US and all the West, Do something good for those beautiful humans. I love France period.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • Hilo, HI

      Thank you for a very nice and thoughtful post.

      April 11, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  3. HillsBros

    Ha....Welcome to the NEW world folks. This is what happens when a few individuals use burqas in attempts to further crime. Now all burqa wearers must suffer. "Burqa control" or "gun control", its the same thing. A tool that could potentially be used in a crime, I haven't hurt anyone on the streets either but I'm not allowed to carry a gun. This is the end result of everyone pushing for equality. Eventually everyone will look the same speak the same and be told to think the same about everyone one around them and your "values" won't mean a thing to any government.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  4. rashid

    Thankfully, we will NEVER pull such foolishness in the USA. Dress how you want, live free, breathe liberty, and let it rip. The way some Americans look, a full cover could only help. I don't get what France is after, other than go to hell, immigrants.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  5. Victor Castillo

    Wow guess what?France grew some cojones over night!!

    April 11, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  6. Mike C

    I agree, and those of you in America who do not follow the Native American culture and religious practices, please go back to your country as well. What do you tell the Muslim women who were born in France? To where should they go back? Should they pick a random Muslim country? Is that the answer whenever government oppresses religion? Move away from your home? I can't believe how many people can only say, "Oh, well, France is a Christian country and they do what they want; I guess the Muslims should just go back where they're from." That is completely idiotic. Why am I so embarrassed to be an American right now? I guess I should go back where I'm from, or in the alternative, pick a random non-racist country, if there are any left.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  7. beee double yew

    The fact that you people even watch southpark shows the level of intelligence here(or lack of it). Challenge yourselves to grow intellectually.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • SayHey

      @ Bee Double Yew

      Pack Sand!
      Just because someone watches the (South Park) show proves nothing of IQ level. Get off your high horse Sour Puss, you have done nothing to contribute to anyones life to make comments like that. I have read nothing about you in the news or in your home town. PACK SAND!

      April 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Hilo, HI

      say, she thinks SP is just a 'cartoon'
      -the cultural references, puns & quick wit wouldn't register with many 'smart' people

      April 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  8. CCR

    I have to agree with Chris and many others who are saying the same thing. It's their country and if these people don't like it then no one is forcing them to stay. I wish the US was in many ways would adopt this policy instead of always trying to bend over backwards for fear of "upsetting" other cultures. It makes me ill to see that we can't say Merry Christmas, or some courthouse had to take down a statue of the 10 Commandments because it offended a non Christian. You don't like it then get the heck out! Obviously many came here for a better life and the right to enjoy to practice their beliefs, but by no means should we have to hide or take down symbols of religion. I applaud France and maybe we could learn a thing or two from them.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  9. Sum Yung Gai

    I look at it this way. Whenever I've been in another country, I adapt to the local customs and culture as much as I can. If that means not wearing cutoff jeans like we do here in the USA, then I respect that and follow it. For example, were I in Saudi Arabia, I would certainly not wear a shirt with a bikini-clad woman on it. To wear such a shirt, even if legal, would be horribly rude. Likewise here; the burqa and similar head coverings are not an actual part of the Muslim religion, therefore they should respect the local French culture and leave those at home. To do otherwise is rude.

    When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Likewise in France, China, Brazil, Morocco, or any other country.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  10. mike

    Sad how shows, art, media, etc etc can totally mock Christ but anyone dare mock Mohammed and the muslims fatwahs come flying....these ppl want to live like its 1012 not 2012...pathetic!

    April 11, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  11. Victor Castillo

    By the way Durka durka!!!Long Live South Park!!!

    April 11, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  12. ratickle

    France has done the right thing and I am impressed that they had the courage to do it. I didn't think the French had the kahunas for something so not politically correct.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • Hilo, HI

      What France did was Very 'politically correct'. (I got what you mean, but that term 'pc' has been distorted beyond.)

      They have also provoked dangerous fanatics now. I applaud their 'game on' rather than live afraid of offending bullies, but it is indeed 'game on'.

      April 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  13. Victor Castillo

    Wait a minute haven't we practically banned all christian things in the world?I can't say merry christmas.I am forced to say happy holidays but we cannot offend the muslims????What is happening here?This is why I hate religion!!!Everyone thinks theirs is the one religion.Grow up and stop worshipping myths!!!

    April 11, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • Right

      Who told you you couldn't say Merry Christmas?? Quit parroting talking points improperly you half wit

      April 11, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • Hilo, HI

      Right -it is the 'politically correct' custom now not to say 'Christmas' -a late night tv host's greeting, a company's 'holiday card', store decorations. You're just arguing to argue. Vic was exaggerating, but yes there is a double standard re the public's willingness to curb one culture's 'in your face' over another's.

      April 11, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  14. Narsima Rao

    I hope Muslim Men will honor this and take their religion to new hope and hights. France is the greatest country in the world to do this first. I love France to do this. It is not about religion. It's all about women freedom. As a man, I agree women are better off than men. Their freedom is at our own advantage and progress. I love my wife, daughter, mom and my sister. Their freedom and happiness is a lot to me. First country to stand behind women's freedom. Come on US and all the West, Do something good for those beautiful humans. I love France period.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • Hilo, HI


      April 11, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  15. josh

    This is about the first time that I have ever thought that we should follow Frances example.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  16. everyone

    What's the fuss. Whenever I travel to Muslim countries I always observe their customs in all things. Why wouldn't they do the same? Why be a pantload just to be a pantload.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  17. Victor Castillo

    I am comfortable wearing a knife in public or a gun but I am not allowed.It is against the law where I live.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Hilo, HI

      My religion says wear a ski mask at the 7-11 and bank.

      April 11, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  18. josh

    If I wear a hood in the local mall, the security guard will ask me to take it off and if I don't they'll ask me to leave. So why should they be allowed to wear their head dress? Because they are the exception to the rules and if you don't like it to bad. Why are we being forced to be tolerant of them and their beliefs, we have to walk on our tip-toes to avoid offending them, but take a look at them outside of this country, or in it for that matter, and see just how tolerant they are of ANYONE that isn’t one of them. Good luck finding that.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  19. Victor Castillo

    What are you hiding?Ugly faces or criminal intent if neither then follow the law and end of story!!!!

    April 11, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  20. Bryant @ SJC

    Muslims enforce all kinds of rules when you are in Muslim countries so I applaud France for standing up and banning such a ridiculous religious clothing (Islamic burqas and niqabs) in their own country. France and other European countries have been bending backwards for their ever growing Muslims populations and enough is enough. Either abide by the laws where you CHOOSE to live or go else where.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • mike


      April 11, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • IntolerantZealot

      Off with your head! Or lashes, or some kind of painful thing applied to your skull to make you stop talking...

      April 11, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • Hilo, HI

      I 100% agree.
      However, if France is trying to turn the tide of colonization through overbreeding, it may be too late.
      By 2025 ethnic French will be a minority to Muslim-born IN FRANCE. I've lost track of the numbers of churches converted to mosques. (I have no religious or ethnic preference or slight here.) My belief is that French people deserve not to be 'bred out of existence' -it is a from of ethnic cleansing. Yes, French births have declined THAT IS DUE TO THE NORMAL HEALTHY RESPONSE TO SEVERE HUMAN OVERPOPULATION WORLDWIDE, impending food & fuel shortages, loss of nature to development, etc. and evolving Away from oppressive religious doctrines (Catholic No Birth Control.)

      "Europe will be an Islamic State. And we will accomplish this without weapons and without war." Moammar Khadafi

      April 11, 2011 at 4:50 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.