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. cynical tom

    If Muslims feel so violated by the law, why don't they tell their friends in Afghanistan to stop bombing and killing innocent people?

    April 11, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
  2. twistedpickle

    This is just another excuse for the terrorists to hide their coward faces. Take down those masks and expose them all, everywhere! A clean conscience has nothing to hide. It's a lot harder for evil people to do bad things when they know that cameras are watching. Those who refuse to comply: throw them in jail, where they deserve to be!

    April 11, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
  3. ummmmwhat

    It is wrong for muslims to force women to wear the veils, but if muslim women want to wear them, then thats their right. If you ask me its a very weak way for France to send a message to muslims. If youre so insistent upon ending muslim womens oppression, why dont you try getting arab countries to let them vote......veil or no veil.

    April 11, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
  4. will

    Why does the media always take the side of muslims and their violation of women's basic human rights? It's one thing to respect freedom of religion, it's another thing to actively support the cause itself. I support freedom of speech, but I am against the KKK and would never propagate their messgage of hate.

    April 11, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
  5. Peter

    I think this law is racist.
    BRAVO France

    Tell me if you will fine anyone that has a winter hat and scarf on ??????
    or a ski mask, will they say oh take that off now next winter when it is -10 outsite.

    they should ban men from wearing a watch on the left hand,

    April 11, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
  6. will

    Liberals only respect freedom of religion for muslims. Liberals bash the nutjob evangelicals here in the US, but they are not 1/10th as draconian as muslims and Sharia law. Another perfect example of liberal hypocracy.

    April 11, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
  7. ht

    The majority of people who are against this law are the ones who migrated there for a "better life". If you willing to migrate then you MUST also be ready to accept cultural changes and laws; if someone from a country became your neighbor and beating of women was acceptable, would you sit by ideally and say "hey its cool if he hits my wife, mother, daughter cause its his culture – go right ahead; while we're at it dont bother learning the country's language lets all just learn yours" OF COURSE NOT. So rather than judge the French who are only enforcing THEIR laws in THEIR country why not look at the people who’s making all the fuss on why they themselves refuses to accept the law of the country they live in, the French didn’t force you to move to their country and I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t stop you from moving on.

    April 11, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
  8. B23sam

    When religion is used as an excuse for irrational and/or odd behavior – then I do not think it is wrong to mae the following comment –

    "A muslim is a muslim, no matter where he lives". This quote was from someone who felt that muslims do not respect the law of the land where they live and they try to find an excuse under some pretext to be treated differently.

    April 11, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
  9. elimonjal

    wearing burqkas is not comparable to a right, because it was imposed to women in muslim countries by men, who treat them like property. women didnt have a choice, they were obligated, and not by religion but by their "masters". if this is not true, why do men dance with men and women are not allowed to dance with men; we had a swimming pool in my house and when our arab neighbors visited, they would not allow their little girls to join in with the boys in the pool, even though they were only 5 or 6 yrs of age.they are not allowed to drive a car !! wow thats freedom for women. they cant go anywhere without a male escort, thats freedom? I could go on and on. but why are men free to do and dress as they like ? arent they of the same religion?

    April 11, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
  10. Sarah

    You can always identify a liberal in these threads, because they always bring up what European immigrants to America did to the natives, and in their indignation, they fail to realize that there's NOTHING we can do to change what happened to the Native Americans hundreds of years ago. Seriously, all you people bringing this up, do you really think the hundreds of millions of people in America who AREN'T descended from natives are just going to pack up and go back to wherever their ancestors came from? How is bringing this up at all even remotely useful in any way? Why not discuss problems in the MODERN world that we can still actually do something about instead of rehashing something that is over and done with and cannot be undone? What does it have to do with what is happening in France now? What does it have to do with the medieval backwardness of a religion that still thinks women aren't the equal of a man and should cover themselves from head to toe to preserve their "modesty"? Here's a thought: quit whining about the unchangeable past and try to make a difference in the world as it is today.

    April 11, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • RUSerious

      +100 internets to you! I am only a 3rd generation American of Scandanavian decent. My ancestors had no slaves, killed no NA's and had nothing to do with early wrongdoings of the settlers back then. I take no responsibility for these wrongs and even those that are decended from the bloodlines that did, how long does one have to be "sorry" for what happened to someones great great grandfather/mother? I am not going to tell my grandkids to appologize to the guy I beat up in a fight in high school's grandkids.
      Move on, live in today, look forward to tomorrow and be a good person. Is that so much to ask for?

      April 11, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
  11. 4ui3woql

    Well everyone can be as bigoted, racist, uneducated, and narrow-minded as they want...Islam is the fastest growing religion and there are more and more Muslims in more and more countries around the world. Eventually you will have to get along with them. Whether you live in suburbia in middle America, NYC, Australia, whatever.

    April 11, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  12. Noel

    Let me review the quote here ""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."

    Ok, I can see that. When people listen to music or teach women to read, that is not hurting anyone...in fact, it is helping the world as a whole by teaching...yet, the "true" Muslim would shun you for this, cane you for this crime against the their holy book. Let us not live a double standard. Do what you want where you are from, but go to another country, RESPECT THE LAW, RESPECT THE PEOPLE. If a hypocrite God ruled, I wonder who would be caned every morning before bacon-less buffet?

    April 11, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
    • hamza

      so,america is right to murder hundreds of thousands because muslims are hypocrites?and should steal oil and other resources from muslims because we treat our women badly?iwhat a magnificent mind!

      April 11, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
  13. Savanna

    Wow. I find that a lot of you are associating being Muslim as an ethnicity, not as a religion.

    Telling Muslim people that they can no longer wear the clothing that they are asked to wear through their RELIGION (not law of the country) is like telling a Jewish person they cannot celebrate Passover or wear a star of David, a Catholic not to practice Lent, and a Mormon to disregard their beliefs in abstaining from alcohol so that they'll better assimilate into a different culture.

    I hope you guys can see that difference. Religious beliefs do not always equal ethnic culture.

    April 11, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • Jeff

      Guess what. They have an entire region to practice whatever they want. It make the French uncomfortable with good reason. If I see a someone come into a bank with a full length trenchcoat in the middle of summer, I start looking for somewhere to duck.

      April 11, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
  14. peter

    Some people might say well how would you feel if they did this to other religions and my feelings would remain the same if they told people of other religions to do something because a country's government should make decisions without any consideration for religion because religion is stupid, plain and simple it causes many problems and the only positive it brings is i dont know, fake comfort and family gatherings, EVERYTHING ELSE IT DOES IS BAD. Believing in god is great and for me makes sense because the universe makes less sense but religion makes even less sense than anything. It is founded on absurrrrd stories that are soooo ridiculous it really is embarrassing that so many intelligent people can believe them to be true. People in religious texts live to be 900 years old hahahahah and people survive living in whales and so forth. Religion is so far out there but for reason people are brainwashed into believing it. As kids many kids believe in santa clause and then at age like 9 u find out hes not real but everyone keeps believing in religion. Without religion our world would be better not much better but slightly better because lets face it, humans find something to fight about anyway but at least it wouldnt be over something as stupid as religion

    April 11, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
  15. Sagebrush Shorty.

    Waiting for President Obama to denounce this French law.

    April 11, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
  16. Rick

    If they don't like it, they can always go home. I think that it is preposterous to think that you could walk around in this day and time of terrorism, with your complete face wrapped up. I don't live in their Country and I don't want to look at it, accept it or worry about it. Hell, it could be a man dressed up with a bomb.

    April 11, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
    • hamza

      nothing here belongs to you,except a portion of national debt-$48.000.a part of that debt to muslims,even to iran.you cannot prevent muslims or hispanics or asians or any other of more than a million a year from coming here.we want to see you at 49% mark.

      April 11, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
    • RUSerious

      @hamza, again

      You sir (or madam), are a moron. Your post makes no sense, adds no value, and shows more hatred and bigotry than that of the OP. Your goal is to make someone a minority? Aim higher than the ant hill champ. When you get a real life, let us know.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
  17. hungryandoutraged

    There are limits to certain rights. Freedom of speech does not allow you to yell "fire" in a crowded theater. Similarly, freedom of dress is being limited only when it affects the security of others. France is not making an unreasonable request.

    April 11, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • hamza

      truth,logic and swiss are always for hire.william shkespeare.american founding fathers were yelling-give me a liberty or give me a death.then they went home and were served by slaves.liberty?what liberty?american logic.mother of all fascism.

      April 11, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • Danny

      It is unreasonable for those who wish to assimilate.

      April 11, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
  18. hungryandoutraged

    My religion decrees me to go nude in public. Sure, there is a law against public nudity, but I ought to be exempt because it's my right to express my religion wherever I want, even if it makes a lot of other people really uncomfortable. In my home country, nudity is totally normal. I understand this is not acceptable dress here, but I chose to come live here and this is a free country, is it not?

    April 11, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
    • pedro macias

      what jungle do you come from, ? no civilized country has that rule. besides if you are old and saggy who wants to see bluber. you are so silly, your mind doesnt work. you have no morals, or religious upbringing.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
    • RUSerious

      Hey pedro, I am assuminging it's sarcasm. Good job on the "no religious upbringing" comment. Your bias is showing. I would take an athiest who helps someone based on pure, selfless humanity than a selfish religeous nut who does it because they don't want to go to hell. Let me sum it up for you, the OP was mocking the whiners that don't want to follow a law because of some religeon. They made a comparison to show how silly it is. Carry on...

      April 11, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
    • hamza

      no wonder you don't know who your daddy is when your family walks around buttnaked.but,if you put your stupid logic aside,you might find out that burqa is very handy when sun burns skin 365 days a year.and that muslims have burqa in their genes becaus they wore it even before islam started to exist.mother mary wore all-but-face-covered clothes.there will come time when you will be appologizing for all crap you do to muslims.

      April 11, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • Megan

      You have no idea what Mother Mary wore or did not wear. Get real!

      April 11, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
    • Kyle

      I am of this same nudity religion. When someone burns the nudity religion book, no one has to die. No one marches through the streets and kills 8 United Nations officials. No one threatens to blow something up. We are a happy religion. Naked and happy.

      April 11, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • RUSerious


      First lets look at this; "there will come time when you will be appologizing for all crap you do to muslims." Is that a threat? More advertising of such a "peaceful" religion? Also, what "crap" has anyone posting on here done to a muslim follower? At least to your knowledge. Get over yourself.

      Second, how does one have clothing in their genes? That would be like saying wearing snowsuits in winter is in a Scandanavian persons DNA. Your post is laughable at best.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
  19. Mark

    So does this mean that all forms of hiding your face our outlawed, nylons, scarves, masks, etc. If this law were enacted in Minnesota would that mean you could not put anything on your face to keep you face warm from the winter weather. This is misplace fear.This is not going to stop a terrorist if they are determined. Outlawing the burga is not going to make it anymore difficult from some one to hide themself.

    April 11, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
    • hamza

      french know that it is not burqa or menonites' clothes or any other clothes that is a problem.they are just flexing a muscle.muslims don't care about this any more than about any other bullying coming from the west.all these conflicts will be solved all together.we know who christians are.american haters can't be but happy to support any fascism against muslims.but,the debt ceiling is closer and closer.and gas is more and more expensive.

      April 11, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • Megan

      Even when keeping your face warm from winter weather, you will not be wearing it in a bank, airport or convenient store. You are most likely to take it off. A convenience store owner can refuse to serve you unless you take it off. No amount of cheer leading from the Muslim community will convince anyone that these women are forced to wear this and are wholly subservient to their husbands and the strongly patriarchal society that created these cultural insanities. There are suicide bombers who use the burqa all of the time in the Middle East to gain access to a place of worship or police station to blow something up. It's what they do. They do it all of the time. France has a right to protect its citizens from this encroaching sick religion. If these people gain access to city councils they can turn back the hand of time with human and civil rights. All women can forget about the words civil rights and gay people would once again be relegated to second class citizenship. With their reckless breeding habits they will be in government positions in no time flat and will refuse to keep their religion out of day to day politics. These idiots even tell their masses which hand to wipe with.

      April 11, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
    • llatpoh

      France is the first western nation to have the courage to shrug the cultural apologists off and stand up for western values and western civilization... the TRUTH is that the burqa has nothing to with Religion – it is a POLITICAL statement... a walking billboard promoting sharia law and gender apartheid... the good news is the West is FINALLY waking up to the failure of cultural apologism – parallel systems of sharia law like in the UK have been a miserable failure. Good for France for have the courage to stand up for their country and their values – Ithe rest of the West will follow – the truth is out...

      April 11, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
    • will

      Ironic that France is the only western country that has the b@lls to stand up and do what's right. The human rights of women trump the rights of an oppresive religon.

      April 11, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
  20. BnB

    Why is it that the PC police condemn France but don't seem to notice the violence that precipitated the measure? Ah, yes, refusal to grapple with reality again.

    April 11, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
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About this blog

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.