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. Joe King

    I'm disgusted at how many of you are saying "Good job France"

    This violates peoples traditions & customs. While they're at it they might as well outlaw the wearing of a cross, or yarmulke.

    They say that head dressing is ok as long as it doesn't make the person unable to identify..... well then I ask you why aren't they making facial plastic surgery illegal? This might as well as be an American Jim Crow law, because it's obviously only going after one group of people.

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

      iit is people like you that i am fed up with. you are worried about being politically correct and not concerned about morals. all it takes is a brain to draw the line of how far an issue should be taken

      April 11, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • kayinde

      Actually at work (a very large bank) Christians and Jews are discouraged from wearing symbols of their religions because it may make people uncomfortable – however, many of the Hindus wear their religious symbols, including Bindi or jewelry with deity symbols. So this is a good step in pushing back

      April 11, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Jane Saint

      The burqa is NOT a religious article of clothing. The Koran does not mandate it. Egypt has banned on it for decades. Some Muslim nations have only recently required it when religious extremist took power. The Burqa is a stone age misogynist symbol that Muslim women are required to wear or accept beatings/mutilations.

      You're obviously ignorant about Jim Crow's law. In a civilized society that believes all citizens are equal regardless of race or gender, the burqa is as repugnant in modern society as slavery shackles.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Blaine

      ...they violate our traditions & customs!!! If I have a problem with any religious or ethnic group, thats my business. No one should be afraid to speak out against a group of people they dont like. How dare anyone tell me I'm wrong for voicing my opinion. We have become to sensitive to the feelings of everyone else that we have let our countries principles go down the drain.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • 1 viper

      Joe King you are clueless. Another stupid argument. Think before you post comments like that,you really put yourself in a bad light.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  2. Ray

    Now...if we can just get the French to starting bathing!!!

    April 11, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  3. Lady Gag

    Go back to the mother country if this is a problem...very simple

    April 11, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • Joe King

      To many France is their mother country.

      Learn to read a book if you have a problem.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • Yousuff

      How about u go back to yours as well...wait I guess u might have banished from your country.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  4. Robert

    So does this mean that children who wear ghost costumes will get arrested too? I do not like that Muslim women choose to wear veils, but were does this sort of thinking end? When you take away one form of expression so easily, what happens to the next one? France has taken a step down a very slippery slope. Keep in mind this nation is historically prone to Fascism. The last thing it needs is for its population to become comfortable with state control of basic forms of religious expression.

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

      robert, it is people like you that i am fed up with. you are worried about being politically correct and not concerned about morals. all it takes is a brain to draw the line of how far an issue should be taken

      April 11, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  5. Mike

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

    April 11, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  6. human being

    Bravo France! you really have the guts, you truly represent the liberty of mankind!

    April 11, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  7. bruno b.

    great idea!!!with all due respect if your countries agreed with that well you can do that but if a person decides to move to a different country, well that person has to follow that countries rights and if the police wants to see you face well you have to show it and if you dont like it a person can go back to wathever country they are from

    April 11, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  8. Isaac

    Good!!! About time these barbaric primitive stone age practices get banned...... welcome to the 21st century muslims.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  9. max

    is this really a positive? a religious practice which harms nobody is outlawed. france gets kudos why? how about they ban skullcaps for jewish men and what about the outfits that catholic nuns have traditionally worn? what is the reason behind this law. if you say it is to protect muslim women from their own religion then I would have to ask, cant those muslim women that object seek protection in secular french laws? have we all become so bigoted that we actually think religious freedom for muslims is a bad thing? guess so....

    April 11, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • imoron

      public safety try walking into a bank with a ski mask on

      April 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • wes

      The reason behind it is like someone else has already mentioned: you're face is covered so nobody can identify you. It's not a law against a religion. France just wants to identify it's criminals. Most criminals cover their face so this will help diffuse some confusion.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Jane Saint

      Wife beating & killing is very acceptable in Muslim countries. It's highly unlikely that a Muslim woman raised in such misogynistic environment will publicly make a stand against her husband.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Steve

      Please read the article and then try to comment on it, it says you cannot cover your face, and get all the free benefits in France any more. you should be identifiable when you are in a public place. You take the advantage of this hijab and get free medical treatment etc, and drain the welfare resource, and this had been going on for long now in paris and elsewhere, the goverment in France had no choice, but to make it into a law, as immigrants from poor african nations are staining the welfare pool and the medical treatment in the country. It will keep all these evils come to France and use all the western benefits and then enforce Sharia Law and islamic ghetto culture in the western countries.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • BOB

      Muslims harm me all the time, with their nasty smells and looks.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Blaine

      the law will allow them to wear everything but the ones which cover their face. So, your comment about the nun and such, is off base! The law was designed not to strip them of religious freedom, but to increase safety by requiring faces to be seen by everyone, when in public.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • 1 viper

      Skullcaps don't hide one's face. That's a really stupid argument.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  10. Meh

    Good for Frog-land – good for you. Get it done in the states as well.
    To those who think its oppression, wait until a loved one is killed and nobody could identify the person.
    enjoy that thought

    April 11, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
  11. mark

    Banning this is just as bad as the taliban requiring it.. When will all these has-been and wannabe countries learn that pure freedom is all that will ever work...

    April 11, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
  12. tom

    as a deaf person you might rarely rarely rarely come across a person in a burqa

    a person who wears a burqa wears it all the time

    so your little bitty tiny rare inconvenience as a deaf person is more important than someone elses freedom to dress as thier custom dictates

    April 11, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • kayinde

      I disagree that a deaf person would rarely come across a person in a burqa. Quit your assumptions. I live within 3 miles of a deaf school with over 1,000 students; many live close to the school. On a typical day in that neighborhood they would run into at least 20 burqas.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  13. Danno

    "National Values" .......hmmm....I live in America – our government is too idiotic to come up with "Values" to uphold American "Values"...I will say it proudly...."In GOD we trust" and "One Nation Under GOD" – but our government wants to do everything it can to remove "national values" from the melting pot....or shal I say....the Mexican Migration Country with no southern border protection in Texas.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • weasel

      Sorry as a conservative Christian who values the truth I feel the need to correct you.

      Abe lincon put all the god stuff in the coinage, and under god was added to the pledge of allegiance in the 1950's.

      That blind theocracy is not american values.

      American Values are hard work, dedication, and a stubbornness in the face of adversity. God is for each single person to deal with, a Christ himself dictated.

      April 11, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  14. Kamish

    Now if we can just get laws passed to make ugly chicks cover their faces up...

    April 11, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Jane Saint

      ....and stupid guys to gag their mouth.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Bookenz

      Don't forget the ugly guys. Actually, they should just stay indoors.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
  15. GCNYC

    Bon Alors! Tres Bien Francais!

    April 11, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • sam

      God bless France–we want some of their guts here. In my house you play by my rules!

      April 11, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  16. Mike

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

    April 11, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • John

      define a terrorist first. I am sure we have terrorized plenty of Iraqis and Afghans. I am sure many Libyans feel terrorized by the NATO campaign. Only the one being terrorized can define who the terrorist is.

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

      Mike that is not fair only about 9 out of 10 terrorists are Muslim

      April 11, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • Jane Saint

      Like Timothy McVeigh and Ted Kaczinski?

      April 11, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  17. james

    The only place muslims should be welcome is the stone age from whence they came.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  18. Pam

    It's about time a country had the guts to require people to assimilate. We need to do that here too.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  19. cregis

    Too bad we don't have this law in the US. What happened to when in Rome do as the Romans. People would accept immigrants more if they would assimilate. If the veil wearers don't want to comply with the law they can move to a country which allows or requires this kind of dress. We have a law in my state which makes it a misdemeanor to cover one's face except on Halloween, but it is not enforced.

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

      THAT'S WHAT i'M TALKIN' BOUT! Why do I need to choose "English" when I call my bank??? Why are their McDonald's menus in Spanish??? We speak English in this country, learn it or struggle but we will not publish everything in 6 languages because there are people here that can't speak the language of this nation!

      April 11, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • Rogert

      what a leap of logic you've made. While this is about assimilation in a very limited sense, do not think for a moment its about assimilation in any kind of general sense.

      It's only in the sense that women cannot cover their face in public. It's truly limited to just that. This law doesn't force anyone to speak French, to vote for secular candidates, to change their religion, or anything else.

      And its doubtful it would lead to a more general assimilation.

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

      Well, simply put, France isn't Rome. It's France. Do we really want to model ourselves after the French?

      Not that I disagree with this law in its entirity, but we have our own thing.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Tom

      Everyone is missing the obvious issue. Islam [Muslims] are attempted to infiltrate all facets of secular society and then claim religious bias. This is an intentional ploy to divide and conquer. These guys are attempting to incite WW III and then claim "look at what you have done to us and out children". Look past the surface issues and see the real problem.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  20. Ben

    Freedom of religion is one thing, but when that religion advocates violence and oppression towards one group of people it is entirely different. GO FRANCE!

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

      and where was violence being advocated? Did those women advocated that? Are you thinking out of your rear again?

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


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

      @BEN, your comment is completely nonsensical dude! The french aren't punishing muslims for the 'sins' of their religion.
      If they were doing that, they would punish the men too, don't you think? This law is targeted at women only. The French believe that women are controlled by men, and that either the government controls them, or their husbands will control them. They may not like it worded in that fashion, but thats the crux of it. They believe the hiding of the face, is enslavement of women. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less.

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

      That was Amen to Ben's Comment!

      April 11, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • Anna

      Read the news. Islamic women in Moscow carried bombs under their burqas and long dressing and killed 30+ people in a subway blast. This type of clothing is dangerous in the age of terrorism that comes form Islamic extremists

      April 11, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • Mike

      I believe that this is really a case of paranoia. As we continue to wage war this separation between those of a Muslim faith and those not is going to continue. This is a difficult argument for either side as you have those in their faith saying these coverings are religiously appropriate. Those that fear an abuse by hostile individuals hiding behind their faith have a point as well. What it truly comes down to is a sense of decency and diplomacy. The purpose of government is to look out for the welfare of the citizens – France should be respected for this decision. However, we as human beings should all utilize a little more understanding.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Ben

      John, have you by chance read any of the various sharia law verdicts that support the "disciplining" of wives through physical violence. Sharia law is part of their religion, so that would be the violence and oppression. Please do your research before you try to champion a cause that is at best flawed.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
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