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. JonathanL

    I understand it is not required by their religion. I think it is cultural but I do know the burka garb is difficult even for me, to absorb. In our culture you only hide you face if you are a diabolical criminal, have done something very shameful, or you are a public executioner and are about to hang or guillotine somebody. With all the terrorism Burkas have even been used to disguise male terrorists in the Middle East. What do they have to hide? WHy are they hiding? Those are the questions that pop into my head when I see a burka. I think the head scarves should be allowed. At least we can see who they are.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  2. cavery

    If this is for security reasons, then I am all for it, only so long as everything covering the face is banned (that includes masks, any winter face coverings, etc.) otherwise it all sounds a bit ethnocentric to me.
    "'The French Republic lives in a bare-headed fashion,' he said in an official government newspaper explaining the law."
    That just makes it sound as if it's more about being against other cultures than providing security. A lot of the Republic also live in a modern fashion, will they ban wearing old clothing?

    April 11, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  3. Jon

    The way I see it, if you are in other people's country, you respect and follow their law and custom. If you don't like it, nobody is forcing you to stay there.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  4. Barbara

    Personally I think the way this faith treats women in general really sucks. However, France is going too far. One may not wear a cross around the neck to school, court or in any public building. This is oppression.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  5. JAB

    Why do they wear the burqa and niqab? Because their male dominated religion/culture tells them to. They're told that if they don't they might cause an erection in nearby males like the goats, donkeys, and camels do. For some reason animals won't wear a burqa so they make the women. Stupid things for stupid people.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  6. The Truth

    I am so sick of hearing about how the christians killed and fought during the crusades. do any of you understand why the crusades took place in the first place? it seems that the knowledge put forth, esp. by muslims, proves you don't. in circa. 600AD, mohammad claimed to hear the word of god through an angel. it was from these words that he wrote the koran. as time went by, mohammad and the koran gained followers, mostly by force or overpopulation. as the centuries progressed, the once christian nations of the middle east became majority muslim, again through massacre, displacement of christians and overpopulation. after conquering the middle east, the muslims turned their sites toward christian europe. they progressed from eastern europe all the way to spain (ever heard of the moors? look it up). an alarmed christian europe finally woke up and realized if they did not respond, the entire european continent would become islamic. that would have changed the history of the world: no enlightenment, no rennasiacne(sp?), no democracy, no america. when the christians relaized the threat, they responded by fighting back aganist the muslims. my friends..that is the crusades. the crusades were actually countercrusades by the christians reacting to the conquest of the muslims. the christians pushed the muslims all the way back to modern-day israel, where they divided up the holy city into two sections: one for christians and one for muslims. but, some of the remnants of eastern european conquest by the muslims still existis. look at bosnia. they have blonde hair and blue eyes and they are muslim. and the reason why the serbs fought against the muslims is because the muslims have been massacreing and displacing the serbs for decades. but bill clinton bombed them. since the bombing campaign in serbia, nearly 1000 churches have been burned or made into mosques by the bosnians. don't ever, ever, ever trust islam. you should bow down everyday and thank god for the crusades, for they allow you to live in freedom today.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • 2/8

      Actually didn't know that.....thank you (no sarcasm intended).

      April 11, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • collins61

      Nicely put. Additionally, it took 400 years of Muslim aggression culminating with the Muslim hoards at the gates of Vienna before the Crusades were launched, meaning every civilized offer as well as threats put forth was turned down by the Muslims, bent, like they are now, on world domination.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Gulfmar

      Very well explained in a short paragraph.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Gulfmar

      By the way, it's spelled renaissance.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • noteabags

      So we should change our 1st amendment to state "freedom of religion – as long as it's christianity".

      April 11, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • 1 viper

      Thank you, that was very informative.

      April 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  7. Abdulameer

    Vive la France!
    It's about time that a western country is standing up to Moslem arrogance and separatism. If Moslems want to live in non-Moslem countries, they need to adapt to the norms and values of the host countries, not preserve their Shariah values and norms.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  8. kls817

    Good for France for saying no to this barbaric "custom".
    A pox on liberal CNN for their headline labeling this law as "controversial"; they seem to use this label for anything conservative, no matter how non-controversial it is. This law had essentially unanimous support in France.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  9. DeafEmily

    Hijabs are fine. AWAY with the niqabs and burqas as a deaf person, it is NOT possible to read lips and decipher the linguistic aspect of facial movements. Hearing people can hear the inflectual tones, but deaf people????? The Deaf people depend on the slightest movement of facial expressions to fulfill the linguistic components of the communication. AWAY with the niqabs and burqas! Hijabs, WELCOME.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  10. Jimmy Crack Corn

    Way to go France! Finally a political leader with brains!

    April 11, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • Charms


      April 11, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  11. Nancy

    The message is simple.

    GET OUT!

    April 11, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  12. Krista

    People are so quick to forget that individual freedoms (religious or not) only extend so far as the extent that they don't pose a security rick for the freedoms of others. Amen. QED. EOD.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  13. GG

    Good job. Its not just national values, its also about public safety. Burqas are simply dangerous as someone could just use the this aspect of religious freedom to inflict harm and prevent themselves from being identified. If they want to wear burqas fine let them but also make them wear a gps collar on their feet, I say this in the interest of public safety only.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Bitter Bierce

      Why is it still legal to buy a ski mask in America? Please get out the ban hammer.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  14. wow

    It's funny how we are all supporting France now but wasn't it not too long ago we all couldn't stand them and were calling fries "freedom fries" because of this. I love America

    April 11, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Gulfmar

      I guess the French are tired of waving the white flag. It's time to take a stand.

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

      Only a small percentage of ignorant Republicans insisted we call them "freedom fries."

      April 11, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  15. Vince

    Islam does not specifically mandate such garb; these practices are traditional, not religious. France is within its rights.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • Bitter Bierce

      Turkey on Thanksgiving is traditional here in the US...does that mean the gov't would be well within its rights to ban it?

      April 11, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • Dave

      Well, the government should definitely have the right to protect women from being forced to wear turkeys on their faces too.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • humtake

      Does the turkey stop law enforcement from being able to identify you?

      April 11, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
  16. clothescritic

    I believe we should ban baggy pants like the gangsta rappas wear.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • 2/8

      Yo yo yo....

      April 11, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  17. Aaron

    Once you get a good look at some of the women, you'd want them to put their burquas back on.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  18. Leo

    I hope these women remember not to make any faces while out in public....forgetting that they're not wearing the burqa.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  19. Don

    Congratulations France. I appears you finally have awakened and once again become a major player on the world's stage.
    I commend you for fighting to maintain your nation's culture and for fighting for democracy and freedom in Libya. Welcome back to your leadership role in the world. This is the same France that once fought to help America gain its freedom and it is nice to see you back in the game.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • collins61

      Well said and agreed. Viva France for taking this bold but necessary first move, alone I might add.

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

      Its the same France that fought to keep a hold of Vietnam and look how that turned out.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • kls817

      an excellent post.

      April 11, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  20. 2/8

    Yeah.....alot of the women who actually live in Ghaners and other Muslim countries don't want to wear them, so I do agree with the fact that is oppression. By if the women in the eastern part of world want to STOP wearing them, why in the hell are the ones who live in the western half fighting to keep them on? This is gonna be a long one.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Mike

      Not all muslims are terrorist but all terrorists since 9/11/01 are muslim...

      April 11, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • 2/8

      You have a point.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:00 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.