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. pabla

    burka got nothing to do with religion.. many muslim clerics have said this . so what is this fuss about ?

    April 11, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
  2. Lee Oates

    I got to say I am really disappointed in France on this issue. I lived there for 3 years and never saw that kind of repression. They were quite famous for allowing and encouraging divirsity. I think that every french citizen who still believes in freedom should immediately wear burqas. Flood the justice system.

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

      Got that logic from the Sarah Palin school of thought eh?

      April 11, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  3. Christian

    If I wore a mask into a bank I would be arrested immediately. So why does a Muslim get away with it?

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

      no you wouldn't

      April 11, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  4. Dystopiax

    Women wearing burqas have to deal with me while wearing my replica of a 9th Century, horned, Viking helmet.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
  5. Christian

    Hear that? Listen hard. Still can't hear the NOW take the cause of of Muslim womenwho are treated like animals? Thats because they are not saying a word. NOW feels that Muslim women do not deserve the same rights as they do. NOW feels that a Muslim woman should be forced to cover her head. NOW's hypocrisy is at least entertaining.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  6. Sassan

    It is NOT THEIR RIGHT when it EFFECTS MY SECURITY. Having someone cover their face (not just their head) effects the security of my family and I. How do I know if the person is not a criminal? A child molester? A terrorist? When something impacts my security, it is no longer a right. In addition, it violates western values of secularism, women's rights, and human dignity. They can move back to the Islamic country of their choice if they like. In contrast, the same people want me KILLED on the spot for being a non-believer (atheist).

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

      So I can't walk around town wearing a ski mask, even if it's my favorite ski mask of all time?? That's certainly my right in the USA at least.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  7. Bringiton1

    When skiing one has the option to cover or not, depending on weather and speed. Covering up is a characteristic of the sport but not outside of it. Veils at funerals are see through and temporary for the duration of the service (usually) . For Halloween they can wear whatever they want since its only for one night. For the rest of the year they should respect the laws of the majority and the country they are living in.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  8. Impishbrat

    it's silly to get mad at them over it. It's in effect a full disguise and terrorists could hide behind one. It's no different than regular cops messing with anyone walking around in full costumes except on Halloween. Sometimes private rights must give way to the safety of the people as a whole. Don't like it? Move out of France, I suppose. I am sure they won't mind.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  9. weasel

    Well france doesn't have a first amendment clause I think so their argument on religious freedom does not carry any weight.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  10. Steven

    Finally! A country with BALLS. Good for you, France.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  11. RichP, easton, pa

    From personal experience I prefer to make sure the wearer does not have a beard and an AK under that outfit, with the face covered you can't tell with the burqa or niqab,

    April 11, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  12. phan

    the muslims that cover there face and wear the 'im a terrorist" look or "im robbing your bank" look need to get the eff out and go back to their homeland. like why are these idiots coming here and walking around like ghosts? why not be a ghost in their homeland? thats where ghosts hangout.. who is letting all these ghosts in this country?

    April 11, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  13. Noah

    So in all of France there are about maybe 150 women who wear this out of 3-4 million Muslims they have. Spending all these resources to target a group of 150 is discrimination and will not resolve in anything at all. This just shows that France is not really secular as it states. There are bigger issues to deal with then to fixate on the 150 or so women in France.

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

      The "with so much more important things in the world, why focus on this" argument carries no weight and is a poor debate tactic. Please refrain from using it in the future.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  14. blah9999

    I love how everyone is quick to blame the US for being discriminatory when there are countries many times worse, like France for instance.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • Isaac

      yeah... how dare they stop a practice from a barbaric religion of hate that treats women worse than dogs.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  15. Whenin.....

    If the law forbids them to wear the burqa then those that are visiting or living in that country should abide by the law or move or do not visit. Believe me, when you visit these countries they expect you to respect their laws or suffer the consequences.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  16. Brian WetsernWU

    Looks like USA will finally have some extremist focus taken off of them. France bombs northeastern Afrtica and now bans clothes used for centuries in those areas. It's a good day to be islamist.... not.

    April 11, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  17. NaKe

    I agree with the ban to cover their faces. If we americans can remember Elizbeth Smart who had been kidnap was forced to wear the veil and when a police officer tried to see her face her kidnapper cried religious freedom! Was to go France!

    April 11, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  18. Jeff

    Congratulations to the French for taking steps to take back their country. Also, supposedly there is nothing in the Koran that instructs women to wear a Burka so religious freedom should not be their issue. The real issue is muslim males subjugating their women with this idiotic apparel.

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

      I think these outfits are silly but why should someone not have the right to wear this if they so choose?

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

      I agree Jeff. This is more of a cultural or political issue not religious. Most heads of state in Europe including Angela Merkel of Germany have stated what a disaster multiculturalism is. Multicultarilism is having a culture exist totally independently of the culture around it. This is not the same as the melting pot of the United States of the past where immigrants assimilated into American society. The islamization of Europe is when muslims move into a country attempting to change the culture within the countries instead of trying to assimilate. Kudos for France for standing up to preserve the culture of their country.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • jgonz1128

      Good point.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  19. Wdrad

    Now THIS is progressive! Way to go France!

    April 11, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • ThsIsNotReal22

      Eliminating religious freedom and individual liberty is your definition of progress? Wow. Maybe you should move to China or North Korea.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  20. Ed

    Wow. So wearing a burqa is regarded as "weird" and "extremist" but drinking blood and eating flesh is what, normal?? Im shocked at all the anti-Islamic, ignorant sentiment coming from Americans on an educational website such as CNN. We really need to change our slogan from "land of the free" to "land of the free, so long as you agree with my beliefs".

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

      well that's all symbolic... you do realize that it's not REALLY blood and flesh right?...... so that's totally different than treating women like they're sub-humans by making them wear bee keeper suits so it doesn't anger the invisible super being in the sky

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

      eating human flesh and drinking blood is not normal. Ed, please do not do this.

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

      typical apologist...Islam has no business in the west..PERIOD. The most intolerant people on the planet, move to western socieities and then demand you tolerate their intolerance. No love lost here...

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

      your so stupid this is in france not US

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

      Hey, it sure is the "land of the free", but then they have the right to change the law at anytime right?

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

      When did CNN become "educational"? LOL

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

      CNN... an educational website? lol.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Lee Oates

      .....or land of the stupid and uneducated.

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

      Isaac, Ive gone to Catholic school and Church since I was eight. According to church doctrine, the wine and wafer are not a symbol. It is the actual body and blood you are consuming on Sunday, hence the miracle. If you dont believe me, ask a priest.

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

      If you don't like the rules of the country, then why don't you move back to yours? move to an islamic country this way you dont have to worry... You know what would happen to a western woman in an islamic country if she decides not to cover her face? France has all the rights to make their own rules... Again If you don't like the rules, you have the option to move the hell out... it is not your country!! deal with it! Congrats to all Frenchmen who supported this new law.

      April 11, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41
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.