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. ali

    May be now we can catch Bin Laden and other terrorists. They have no place to hide -:))

    April 12, 2011 at 12:13 am |
  2. Tony

    I don't get it at all. They come to our western society saying they are running away from oppressive religious rules but yet they come and try to impose their way on us while if I was in their country I have to follow their laws to the letter or be imprisoned for a long time. to me I think its high time that these people understood where they chose to come and follow the rules of their chosen place to live. In my country the government has had to put out a new pamphlet to them explaining what is and what is not accepted here as some have now been before the courts charged with a serious crime because they did not make a difference has to where they now live.

    April 12, 2011 at 12:11 am |
  3. ali

    Just to let you know, I'm Muslim, and nore my mom or any relative i have wear this burka thing. Its not ever required in islam.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • Robin

      Then you do you get arrested for it?

      In mecca a girl's school caught fire, but the girls werent allowed to flee because they ddint have the burqa/hijab on [which i understand they take off aftering enterign school premises]. manyyy of those girls that couldnt reach their burqas were stopped my the 'moral police' and lost their lives.

      How does that in ANY way say wearign a burqa is optional. Just because you guys agreed amongst yourselves that this reason seems ligitimate to advertize in public doesnt mean others see it like that as well.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:02 am |
  4. Aden

    It is sad that in a so called "democratic" state can tell a woman what to wear and what to not to wear. there is a great misunderstanding about islam. many people believe muslim women are oppressed in the muslim society, but that is not true. there are many women who live in the west and still wear the Hijab and no one forces them. it is time that people find for themselves what Islam is all about.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
    • FU John

      @Aden If you walk into the bank and covering your face, I'll shoot your A$$ up...What are you trying to do? Robbing the bank? Do whatever, but need to prevail your face...I don't care what religion you're worshiping, don't cover your face. How do I know if behind the burqa is a man or a woman? We need to identify the person in front of us.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:37 am |
  5. john hopkins

    muslims are terrorists!
    ban that stupid religion now!

    April 11, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
  6. Victor Castillo

    Durka durka,Dorka dorka,Dirka dirka.....IT IS FREAKIN' HILARIOUS!!!Get a funny bone!!!You relligious Emos!!What the hell is the point of living if you have to hide yourselves from the world?Do we have insecurity issues?You cannot think of anything but worshipping something you can't even prove is real.Why don't you just worship the Easter Bunny that would at least be funny.I would have no problem with women wearing bunny ears and a cotton tail.Hell you can just worship Hef and do those things.Don't that sound like maybe a little more fun?Get a drink in you maybe you will even smile.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
  7. Someguy

    "And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together. "

    April 11, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
  8. john hopkins

    eradicate all muslims and asians!!!!
    problem solved

    April 11, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • FU John

      @John hopkins How about eradicate YOU'RE A$$. Stupid comment!!! Show me how you do it, Stupid John? I hope that someone close to you crack open your stupid head and fill it with more brain cells...Kudos to France for that stand up law...If you cover your face, we will jail you...Cool keep it up France

      April 12, 2011 at 12:32 am |
  9. Jon Stewart

    There is a reason why america is america and not france.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
  10. john hopkins

    so if i walk into my bank wearing a balaclava-that should be good,no?

    April 11, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
  11. Jon Stewart

    This is stupid. Everyone is free to wear what they want. France has no culture if they control what people can or can not wear.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • Socialist

      Sure, also let them keep their racism against Jews. And beat up women. And harass gays and kill apostates and daughters who are too westernized. We have to be liberal and open minded, isn't it, retard?

      April 11, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
    • Robin

      Honestly, If france doesnt take these steps, they will be the next Algeria.
      (meant to post comment here and not for other one)

      Islamists are not in another's country to embrace its value and culture but to occupy it for Islam.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • JohnLI

      Right on Robin you understand what's going on.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:41 am |
  12. john hopkins

    NO GO PH_______________CK OPH!

    April 11, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
  13. Victor Castillo

    The problem with all of you is that you think your way is the only way and want everyone else to be exactly like you. When I look as all of you I can understand their reluctance to do so. You demand your freedoms, allow others theirs.

    How ironic and moronic!!!!This is why I hate religion along with many other damn good reasons.You say according to this you just want your freedoms.Freedom to do what?Freedom to not be free to show your ugly mugs!!!!Are you stupid!!!!You want the freedom to not have freedom!How ignorant is it to think that it is so noble or righteous to hide every inch of what you think a GOD,made yet it is so shameful to show it.Please,please please explain to me the sense in this.There is none you are all just a bunch of fruit loooops!!Check your brains for tumors or something.Stupid religious freaks!!!

    April 11, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
  14. john hopkins

    ban all religions!
    but make islam the first!
    99.9999999999% of all terrorists are from this cr%p religion!
    bravo and kudos to france for doing the right thing!
    next-->ban this stupid religion!

    April 11, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
  15. john hopkins

    a country with some cahunas!
    this archaic religion(as all religions are!) needs to be shown for what it really is!
    make them show their ugly faces in public!
    enough of this religious tolerance cr%p!
    good for france!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 11, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • Robin

      Honestly, if france doesnt take steps like these, they will be the next Algeria..

      April 11, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
  16. Nadi

    Some of you people seem to think that Muslims aren't following the "customs" of some of the countries they live in. But if a country boasts freedom of religion then arrests people for following their religion, then your defense is flawed. Also, before you claim that Islam oppresses women, go and educate yourself. It's man's responsibility to get educated and not by biased newspapers and tv stations.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • JohnLI

      No. You're free to worship in a place of worship or in your own home...not in public.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:37 am |
  17. seeallpoints

    I don't see how a civilized nation could make a ban like this. It's truly embarresing. The middle east has taken some steps foward with the revolts for democracy but this is a step back for the west

    April 11, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • Colin in Florida

      With a face covering, you have no idea who is under a garment. You don't even know if it's a woman. Imagine you own a store in France, and someone wearing a ski mask in July walked into your store. You would assume a robbery is in progress. The burqa is the exact same thing. It's also a cultural thing. Women cannot dress as they please in many islamic countries, so why should islamic women be allowed to dress as they wish in the West? Remember the old saying-When in Rome, do as the Romans do, or in other words, get along to get along.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:03 am |
  18. G

    Trust me, Some women look better with the Burqa. There is no make-up that can cure some so the Burqa is last resort.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
  19. will

    It is not ok for France to ban burqa's but it is ok for middle east countries to ban women wearing shorts? Explain.

    April 11, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • FJ

      Hey Will,
      Please don't talk about things that you don't have the smallest grain of knowledge about. No law in any muslim country bans women from wearing shorts. However, women wearing shorts is rather frowned upon as women and men should be modest to eachother. However wearing shorts at home in private is no problem. In the Quran it says that there is not compulsion in Islam. God has given everyone free will to do as they wish.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • seeallpoints

      And even if shorts were banned in the middle east your point is still "two wrongs make a right" which is very immature

      April 11, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
    • hey FJ

      I burned a quran after reading your comment FJ.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • Socialist

      FJ is a lying bigot and hypocrite. I have seen women being caned for wearing pants in Sudan, Iran and Saudi Arabia. FJ must be a muslim doing his lying to infidels, as the filthy koran commands him.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • bad_ju_j00

      the idea is to not make more dumb laws. Agree that laws preventing someone from wearing what they want is dumb, but to make the same type of law in reverse doesn't really make for a free society.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • Saiyan5

      you're 100% right. It is nothing against islam, it's for security purposes. It does not matter the religion in question ( catholism, buddhism, christianism ) etc... the law of the State is the law of the State. For those who think is to targeting muslims, I'll say foolishness. The Quran instructs men and women to dress and behave modestly in society (24:31), that's all. Few years ago in a province of france a woman refuses to take the burqa off for her license picture, also happened in Florida. I guess my new religion can allow me to wear sun glasses and a hate to get my passport, or i can turn my back on my driver's licence picture how is that different? With all due respect, the burqa can be use as a facial mask.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:41 am |
  20. 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 10:51 pm |
    • FJ

      Islam is in no way oppressive. It just calls men and women to be modest to eachother. The only thing nessescary for women in Islam is to cover thier legs, arms, and hair. The burqa is voluntary and is usually worn by women who don't like to be seen by men in public because they feel exposed. Please Will, get to know some muslims around you. Or maybe even read the Quran, you will be surprised how it could enlighten you 🙂

      April 11, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • expat

      I'm an American woman living in Saudi Arabia and I am required by law to wear a black abaya. It is also forbidden to protest or organize in any way, civic or labor. I think France has every right to ban niqabs and do as Saudi does, tell women in the privacy of their homes they are permitted to wear niqabs without question, just as I can wear shorts in the privacy of my home. Really, what's the difference. If you don't like Western laws, move to a country that supports your cultural and moral views. I would never protest the abaya here in Saudi, as ridiculous as it is in the 115 degree heat of the Arabian desert.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
    • AL00002002

      @FJ This is typical islamic nonsense. The 'morality police' is some islamic countries can arrest, flog, or imprison women for 'immoral behavior' i.e. not wearing a burqa. You're a typical islamic apologist, but, as you can see from the comments, we've woke up and smelled the coffee. We will no longer tolerate islamic traditions, laws, and rules as the oppose our sense of decency and morality. If you dislike it, you have the great western right to leave.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • kassim

      why are you guys trying to bring islam down ??? does this make feel like a diffent kind of spiece does make u feel the like ur the alpha ??? answer my question y ru guy trying to brin g islam down ...... will let me tell u smething ull never bring it down

      April 11, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • kassim

      go eat a crossant maybe ull fell better

      April 11, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • misoislamic

      Kassim – Your post tells me two things. One, you have no concept of the English language, in particular the ability to spell anything close to an English word. Second, you are typical of the blind, irrational, fanatic muslims in this world. I pity you on both accounts.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:08 am |
    • ali

      Finally we can catch Bin laden and other terrorists.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:19 am |
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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.