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. Nancy

    Are these guys going to be dumb enough to wait around for them to rounded up in boxcars again?

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

      Those were the jews.... you may want to think on it.

      And you're also dead wrong.

      The jews got marked by the germans before being rounded up.
      This is UNmarking someone.

      April 11, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  2. Tom

    Knock knock knock.. Take a hint.. Get out of France.. Simple stuff actually.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  3. baghead

    what if you want to wear a bag over your head because your really ugly?

    April 11, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  4. Dean

    Send them back all to the middle east. and take the non american, kenyean POS with you too!!!

    April 11, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  5. baltimoregeorge

    If all these "good" muslims would stand up to all these cretins that want to take over the world, then the cretins would be vanquished quckly. Then everyone else would be able to see how legitimate islam is. This is simple math.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  6. sel

    My personal opinion is the covering the face isn't a legitimate religious practice. It is merely a way to oppress Muslim women. If we must force equality for Muslim women by banning face coverings, so be it.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • musica1

      True! I have friends who lived in an Arab country for years, and the women who covered their faces completely like that were literally treated like cattle. They were the posessions of their husbands and were required to ride with the livestock. Men and boys were not.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  7. douglas

    Go France! I'm glad that a least one country is not bowing down to religious pressure and threats of violence.

    We in the United States of America have turned into a bunch of wusses on the topic.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • 1 viper

      Amen Brother!!!!

      April 11, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  8. 2/8

    Through = throw.......oops.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  9. 2/8

    The safety issue is legit. If a criminal robs/kills someone, all he has to do is through on a sheet and he's as good as invisible. On the other hand, the Burqa doesn't make a terrorist, extremist beliefs do. I see what France is trying to do, and I think it's great, but I see where the religious aspect comes in, and it does go head to head with the new law. I smell a fight a-brewin'.

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

      But I mean.. terrorism aside, it's a safety concern. If I walked around with a bandana on my face I think the cops would probably stop me to talk at the very least... especially if I were entering into banks and businesses.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  10. TB

    BRAVO France! It about time someone stood up for their own values and didn't succomb to the bizarre practices of a religion that uses terror as a way to bully their way into making other change to comply with them!

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


      April 11, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  11. Karen

    I'm in full support of this. I'm not even going to give a reason why because it should be blatantly obvious the security risks total face coverings present.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:48 am |
  12. steve s

    uhm....can the US adopt this? Also with a ban on turbans?

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

      We're too puss.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  13. Chitown Jason

    I for one, encourage women to wear as little clothing as possible. Still, such a law should not have been enacted in France, and should certainly not be enacted in the USA. Two reasons:

    1) People should be able to wear what they want.
    2) People should be able to practice their religion freely.

    Such a law is unacceptable and has no place in a free society such as ours.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • James C.

      That's fine and good, but in said free society I should also reserve the right to tell somebody they are not allowed in my business if I can not see their face.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • David L.

      I agree, you should be able to, as the owner of your business. Know, however, that in a free-speech, free-market system, people will likely criticize you for it, and you will likely lose business because of that choice, but I do protect your right to do so, even if I don't agree with the premise.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • zeda

      Even in free socieites there is a limit to what you can do. I can't wear anything I want. There are laws or rules limiting what I am allowed to wear for a variety of reasons.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  14. Dan

    Religious freedom does not include freedom to oppress women. The French are right to ban burqas and we should do the same here.

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

      Dan, they don't permit a cross around the neck in ANY public building. I'd be upset if America went that far. This country was settled mainly so that people could freely practice religion.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
  15. Thinking7

    France has warned the United States that we need to start worrying about Muslim extremism in our own country, as well. I am glad France put this ban into effect. It makes complete sense to any normal person – with all the terrorism and weird things going on in this world, we can't have people walking around in costumes hiding themselves. If everyone started wearing clown outfits, believe me, someone would make a law to ban that.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • Stryker Infantry

      Of course we should not allow halloween parties or micky, minnie, and donald at disney land because they might be a terriost.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • zeda

      Stryker, don't be silly. Costumes are "within" context at disneyland. You expect people to be dressed as odd things. I suppose, though, if Minnie blew up a ride in disneyland by hiding explosives under her pantaloons, then the costumes would go. You would expect ski masks outside in below freezing weather, Halloween mask at a costumet party during Halloween. So this argument is lame. Try harder. I can't wear a Halloween mask at work if if a Halloween party. Ski masks in a bank or at work would raise concern and y ou would be pulled aside and question. Masks all the time are not appropriate. Burqa's in a Mosque are. In public, no. At least in France. They are a secular society and their secular laws trump religious laws. Try and understand that.

      April 11, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  16. The West is the best...

    France, you are so fabulous!
    Thank you for valuing women and fighting to preserve our wonderful western world.
    I am so glad that I was not born over there!
    I'll buy French products with pride!

    April 11, 2011 at 11:47 am |
  17. sisi

    Good job France!! Good to see somebody has the balls to stand up to these people!!!

    April 11, 2011 at 11:47 am |
  18. Jess

    I think this ban is appropriate as I dont believe that Muslim women are mandated to cover their faces. To cover their hair and dress in a conservative manner is what most do.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:46 am |
  19. Charms

    Good job France...you have guts and have a cause to protect your culture. I see nothing wrong here.
    Reverse the scenario and wear a bikini in any Arab nation and watch what happens.

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

      You're right. They will get shot or stoned.

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

      A moderate muslim and agree with you!

      April 11, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  20. Dave

    What about all those poor Muslim men who moved to France believing that the government would support their religious right to oppress their wives?

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

      They will be angry and will hurt some people...because, you know...if you don't agree with them you should die.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Scarf

      Hopefully, these Muslim men simply return to their homeland permanently. Then they can wear whatever lovely rags on their heads they want there along with that attractive full beard while they seek martyrdom and the 7 virgins.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:02 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.