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. yep i said it

    Christianity used to kill people for almost any reason a couple hundred years ago. Maybe Islam can become less radical too. What France is doing is wrong. I hope every American thinks so. America is based on freedom.

    April 11, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • BG

      @ yep i said it

      You're just another walker in the idiot parade.. wave that flag higher!

      April 11, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • yep i said it

      If it takes away a persons right to do something that doesn't even harm anyone, then yes it's wrong. Sounds like a Christian that doesn't realize thousands upon thousands died because of the Christian faith.

      April 11, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
  2. bad ju j00

    Oh dear, I'm tired of passing Judgement. So many people full of hate and fear. When did the 2 horn fella have so many followers?

    April 11, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  3. kid


    April 11, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
  4. LKJ

    I am an American Muslim woman, a convert who chose Islam when I was 23 years old–and single, if that makes a difference. I've worn the hijab since about six months after my conversion, which was more than 30 years ago. I have also considered wearing the veil, but decided against it. Some of friends do wear veils and I respect their choice. And that's what it's all about–choice. Actually, when I became a Muslim back in '81 most women didn't wear hijab in any country. Since then many have chosen too. They are not being forced by their husbands or fathers or brothers. We have free will. My most insulting treatment has come from "well-meaning" feminists who believe I'm oppressed and apparently too stupid to realize how oppressed I am. Would you believe that I have earned my Ph.D.? I drive a car, travel–and I've also written and published seven books. Please stop making assumptions about Muslims. Stop with the stereotypes. One of my Muslim sisters, also an educated American convert, said today that too often we Muslim women are looked at in terms of our relationships and not as individuals. I am a Muslim woman and I'm proud of that. I will not leave my country–the country where I was born and the only country I really know–and I will not remove my scarf just because it may happen to make you feel uncomfortable.

    April 11, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • BG

      @ LKJ

      and if you begin to espouse any musings about an Islamic state within your "country," your government will be perfectly within it's right to throw your converted Muslim-American PhD butt in jail...

      April 11, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
  5. Anti-Stupid-and-Demeaning-Cultural-Rules

    The Burqa is not of any religious ideology. It is nutty middle-world err middle-east demeaning law on the so-called subservient women. It should rightfully be banned where it can pose a threat. It is not any kind of ban on any religious belief system. If you don't like it, leave. I only wish the USA had the balls to take such a radical and intelligent step toward the security of its countrymen. But it doesn't, sadly.

    April 11, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • LKJ

      Why are you threatened by a woman who chooses to save her beauty for her husband rather than flaunting it in public. We Muslim women are not oppressed animals. We are individuals with free wills. Please respect our choices.

      April 11, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Anti-Stupid-and-Demeaning-Cultural-Rules

      You have a choice when you're in someone else's country. Respect the law or get out.

      April 11, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
  6. Stephen

    Muslims are very rude... why just the other day their was a party run by muslims in my neighborhood and they cursed me out as i rode my bike by, minding my own business... FREAKS!!!

    April 11, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  7. Stephen

    I agree with the law of France but they should go even further... Muslims should go back to their own countries instead of trying to be all defiant in our countries and scaring our kids.

    April 11, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  8. Philip

    Very good and bold move my french govt. Other countries should follow the same.

    April 11, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  9. bubba

    why dont they ban burkas in all countrys ???people shouldnt cover their faces with any thing it is disrespectful to allah....we need to eradicate this muslim crap....

    April 11, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
  10. !

    you are all taking it out of context. they are banning it because it creates an issue – you can't tell who the person is that is wearing it, it has nothing to do with religion or race for that matter.. im sure if any other group of people were walking around in ski masks it would have been banned also.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
  11. fanta

    It is a good law and should have been passed looooong ago....Europe is Europe and the mid-east is another Planet away.......


    April 11, 2011 at 6:51 pm |

    I've never seen Muslim women wear these in the U.S. Do they? Sorry, I've been living in the Central Plains for 10 years....and someone wearing this would be kinda obvious. I wouldn't want them wearing them around me.....no, I'm not backwards...but I think everyone should be relatively identifiable....

    April 11, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  13. Ban it EVERYWHERE !

    In this day of terrorism (by this same religion) we need to see if its a man hiding behind there (its happened before) or if there are weapons under there.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  14. Just Say No to WASPs

    Want to live in the West? Then live like the West. When foreign women have to come to your countries you expect them to wear the sock over their face; when you come here we expect you to take yours off. Don't like it you can go back and stay there. You think your special? F8*Ck your book.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • Jessica

      But part of living in the West is being free to follow your beliefs, whatever they might be. I don't agree with the burqa and understand why the French banned it, but at the same time I understand why people are upset with the law. The west boasts of its freedoms....but why does it deny them to Muslims? I was unaware that you're only free in the west UNLESS you're Muslim...you should be free to do what you wish as long as long as your practices do not injure others.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • jack

      Sorry Jessica, but its time to start taking some of those freedoms away, specially if they represent a risk – terrorists – to all of us...I support France and I'm hoping this will be the start of a trend!....wanna live in the west? then become part of it, don't try to bring your radicalism over here, we dont neet it...

      April 11, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • bad ju j00

      Definitely not seeing God

      April 11, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • BG

      @ bad ju j00

      Hey, buddy. The hookah. Put it down.

      April 11, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
  15. ashraf

    This is simple case of France trying to undermine these women's right to choose caused by their phobia and also admittance that their culture is not strong enough to withstand such diversity.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  16. gene

    muslims want everyone to conform to what they want. Yet go to a muslim country and try wearing a cross. If muslims aren't happy, then they are FREE to leave and go back to their crapholes.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • Dave

      Your statement is very hypocritical... they are not asking 'others' to do anything... they are being denied wearing something for themselves... I don't agree with the burka, but you're comment makes no sense.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • jack

      I agree with you!...France has my support and I'm hopeful this will spread all over Europe...Let's take back what's ours and force these crazy ppl with their child out of our country!

      April 11, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • bad ju j00

      probably will not see God

      April 11, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
  17. Omar

    Walking naked is fine. Covering yourself up is not. But wait! Women have the right to choose in the West, right? The hypocrisy of the dirty French is made all the more clear.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • jack

      France has a point, its not their right – its the religion radicalism from their husbands that force them into it....so I support France, you dont like it? you're more than welcomed to fly back and enjoy your terrorist society...

      April 11, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • D

      You are right. So, the muslims in France should leave the hypocritic French society and go back . Fair ?

      April 11, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • bad ju j00

      will see God

      April 11, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  18. Rich

    As an anti-Muslim and anti-Judeo Christian, I applaud the French government's stand against religious repression. However, I believe this law was inspired as a reaction to the "Front National" and other anti-immigrant movements in France. It's sad that French xenophobia should ba at the root of a human rights issue.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • Dave

      Just curious... what are you 'pro' about?

      April 11, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • Jessica

      As a Christian...I feel bad for you, and I hope you have your eyes opened one day.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • Dave's Not Here

      @ Dave

      What business is that of yours? Go stick your nose back in the Koran.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • bad ju j00

      may see God

      April 11, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  19. david, you're a good man, but...

    Do not let this demonic religion coupled with your apathy and tolerance stray you from the fact that Islam is dangerous to any free society. i am a christian who grew up in syria. you do not understand islam until you have to live under it. when the lines are drawn in the sand, i assure you the muslims will not stand with you. not trying to be a jerk, just trying to open your eyes a little.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • Omar

      Wow that sure as hell makes you an expert. Idiot!

      April 11, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Ann Marie Lynch

      That does make you an expert, thanks for the insight. I can't believe the misogynists who support the hijab. They love to see women be treated as dogs.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • Dave

      I understand you experience has unfortunately left you with negativity, and I'm certain it is founded in logic. The issue is one thing is what the religion teaches, and another is how individual cultures utilize those teachings. The Arab countries were 'extremely' tough on women (traded as objects, commodities) until Islame came in and granted them 'some' rights. The cultures of the middle east are extremely difficult, living in extremely harsh environments, and only in the last hundred years gaining some modern technologies to make life more livable. That being said, the same hypocrasy is in play around the world with MANY religions...

      April 11, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • jack

      Omar, head back to your country, you aren't welcomed here anymore....

      April 11, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • Dave's Not Here

      @ Dave

      " That being said, the same hypocrasy (sic) is in play around the world with MANY religions..."

      Care to provide some examples, o illuminated one? And please, for your own sake, learn to spell. (right-click under the little squiggly line for Word Press spelling suggestions.)

      April 11, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • bad ju j00

      not meeting God

      April 11, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Valdez

      Big talk from someone whose a christian, quite possible the second most retarded religion in the planet.

      April 11, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  20. yianni

    Controversial? Sent them to Pakistan or for better to the caves in the mountains off Afganistan.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:15 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.