April 12th, 2011
02:27 PM ET

First woman cited under France's veil ban

By the CNN Wire Staff

Police in the Paris suburb of Yvelines have issued what is believed to be the nation's first fine for wearing an Islamic veil in public.

A 28-year-old woman was fined 150 euros (about $215) Monday evening, the same day the law went into effect, according to police.

Police declined to specify whether the woman was wearing a burqa, a full-body covering that includes a mesh over the face, or a niqab, a full-face veil with an opening for the eyes.

Both are banned by the new French law, which has drawn criticism from some human rights and religious organizations and some Muslims as discriminatory. France has Western Europe's largest Muslim population.

Police in Paris arrested two veiled women Monday, but said those arrests were for participating in an unapproved demonstration.

The law allows women who are cited for wearing an illegal veil to pay the fine or perform community service. It reserves harsher treatment for anyone who forces a person to wear a veil. That is punishable by a year in prison and a 30,000 euro fine (about $43,300). Forcing a minor to wear the veil is punishable by two years in prison and 60,000 euros.

Authorities say the prohibition is necessary for national security reasons as well as to uphold French values of equality, dignity and national identity.

The French Constitutional Council said the law does not impose disproportionate punishments or prevent the free exercise of religion in a place of worship, finding therefore that "the law conforms to the Constitution."

But critics argue the government has no business telling people what clothes to wear or how to practice their religion.

"I am free to do whatever I want and this is a choice that I want to make," wrote Hebah Ahmed, a blogger. "And just because somebody doesn't accept my interpretation of Islam or personally like it doesn't mean that we can use laws to violate people's freedom of expression and freedom of religion."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: France • Islam

soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Dkkdd

    They are planning genocide against us Muslims and we will wipe them out before they do.

    April 12, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • Anita

      Umm, Dkkd, kind of an overreaction. France won't allow clothing that has been used by Muslims in the past to hide explosives. The new law PROTECTS the French, and frankly any nearby Muslims (of which there are plenty in France). Clothing mandates are hardly genocide. But isn't your suggestion, "we will wipe them out before they do" a call to genocide on your part? Maybe think next time before you react emotionally?

      April 13, 2011 at 12:00 am |
  2. Zubair

    Filthy kuffar will see eternal torment for oppressing Muslims in this world. Patience O Muslims! LIfe is short, let us make use of this time to please our Creator and be with Him forever in Jannah. The disbelievers will burn in hell fire forever and what can be a worse punishment than that?

    April 12, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
    • Peedy Oor-ree-on

      Finally one of you is honest enough to speak out your true agenda, you and Dkkdd. Your true goal, the complete domination of the world, is brought to light in the website, http://www.IslamQA.com.

      April 13, 2011 at 4:22 am |
  3. julia

    SORRY .... and security of OUR country and our people!

    April 12, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
  4. julia

    VIA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is perfect example for us to follow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They have to respect us if they want to live in OUR country!
    I do not care about their veils .... BUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I CARE!!!!! about my security!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 12, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • Polivar

      julia, are you retarded?

      April 12, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
    • River Phoenix

      Who is this "We" you keep talking about? I am willing to bet my retirement that you are not of Native American descent. You are most likely an off spring of immigrants from Europe, act like one.....

      April 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  5. Polivar

    Huhuhuh. I love it! The "freedom-loving and civilized" europeans show their true colors again... Coming Soon, Bosnia part II, this time in western Europe.
    Did they really release her or is she on her way to Guantanamo? – no torture of course. πŸ™‚
    Dress code should be left to private establishments. In Iran there are malls where people with burkas are not permitted and the government cant do anything about it. (although surprisingly there are fewer women who want to wear burkas in Iran than there are in Europe!)

    April 12, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • Anita

      Freedom isn't an all or nothing proposition. I'm not free to drive over the speed limit. There are laws for reasons, such as public safety and welfare. So long as Muslims strap explosives under coverings, nations have a right to legislate against those coverings. Hooray for France for leading the way. And if you think it's wrong for one nation to oppose the religious beliefs of others within its borders, try taking a female to a conservative Arab nation. They'll slap a veil on her before she's off the plane. Why aren't you complaining about that? At least France's motive is national security. Not the case with Arabs forcing non-Muslim female visitors to observe their religious practice. It's Arabs overreacting and shoving their religion down other people's throats, not the other way around. Just read the comments from Muslims responding to this article for a sampling. This French law is genocide? Please. At least take a stand that supports your right to continue to exist on planet Earth.

      April 13, 2011 at 12:21 am |
  6. Stan

    Muslims should learn, just like they have taught in their countries (I lived in Saudi Arabia and UAE for about 5 years), to respect the local culture wherever they go. If you tell me not to wear shorts in that searing heat because of your culture and if you tell me that there is a men's section in a restaurant, I expect you to respect whatever rules I put in place in my country – however ridiculous they may seem to you. And as they say in the middle East, if you dont like it, go back to your country...So, if you dont like what the French are doing, go back to your country!

    April 12, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
  7. Joe

    Much like the Bible, the Islamic holy book, the Koran cals for a worldwide kingdom for the "endtimes" which will not come about according to Bible prophecy.

    As 1.5 million Moslems around the world observed the giving of the Koran by fasting during the day for the month of Ramadan, the Islamic doctrine of a worldwide caliphate or kingdom is understood by the Moslem world. Islamic doctrine says that Allah will lead this kingdom and the world will convert to Islam. Islamic eschatology states that prior to the kingdom, the Mahdi, the Moslem messiah returns to set the world in place for this global caliphate.

    The Bible, the Word of the true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Jesus Christ reveals that Jesus Christ will indeed return to the earth to setup His Kingdom, Zechariah 6:12-13, Daniel 7:13-14 and Revelation 20:4-6. Before Jesus does setup His Kingdom, the Islamic world will be devastated, Ezekiel 38:18-39:5.

    Though European legislatures and even worldwide legislatures may try to stop the global spread of Islam, God's plan will be the way to victory.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      Joe..you see that the belief in supernatural beings is destructive to society...you are saying that yours is the real one, but the Muslims claim they are correct... not a recipe for a good outcome.

      April 12, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River


      You speak as if you wanted to discuss race relations and your examples are a klans man and a black panther. Of course it is not a good outcome if you are one of those that take the lead of the national media that would, for ratings, tell you that every Muslim is Osama and every Westerner is a Crusader. Are you really that dense to be lead around by the ones that would more benift from folks not getting along.

      You say its not a good recipe for a good outcome. Well how may times in the United States has that same feeling been expressed. That you can not have blacks living side by side. That the native americans should never leave the reservation, that the Catholics and the protesants ... the Irish and the Germans.... etc ..

      You mention recipe ... they do call it s melting pot. What I see more and more is some in Islam's extremes just as afraid of muslims in migrating into the west as some of you do. This fear is that maybe history will repeat again and that Muslims will see that they can American and Muslim at the same time.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      Mark From Middle river.. not sure what you are on about actually..I made the comment that religions fight over who has the real god....which is not good and will not have a good outcome. Joe makes the point his version of god is real and the Muslims are incorrect.. how can that be helpful to a peaceful world..Now if you called yourselves human beings first and respected that it would be a start. I have absolutely no issue with any race..not sure where that came from.

      April 12, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
  8. CAB

    I think we also need to remember that many women who wear burqas have never been without that covering in public. I wonder if removing that covering would be like one of us suddenly being told to strip down in public. I don't think we need to make any woman feel more vulnerable than she already is.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • LEB

      No, we need to change the influences in society that make women fear for their safety. Having a bare face is a social norm in Western countries, and we require possession of a photo ID for many purposes. If conservative Muslims don't like it, then they should emigrate or return to a country where their practices are accepted social norms. This isn't a matter of religious intolerance, but basic security and normal functioning of societies in most of the world.

      April 13, 2011 at 12:24 am |
  9. Keith

    maybe they should arrest and hold these women for an exchange for Asia Bibi-remember her? the religion of peace is a joke. hold islam accountable for the crimes they commit. Let Asia Bibi go.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  10. Mark from Middle River

    Yasmin, I have to respectfully disagree. The yamkia, the wearing of the cross...these are not things that hide the person from identification. If the French really had a war on the Muslim faith they would have banned all Muslim garb. As it stands now they can wear all the other forms of dress that do not cover their face.

    What is going through their mind is protection for French citizens, ... Muslims included.

    April 12, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  11. GSA

    @jordan – nope their are other options as well, you should do some research.
    This is a stu-pid law, they should have worded it so that authorities have the right to ask someone to remove the Burqa if there is probable cause or in cases of security issues ie: drivers license, gov't buildings and private shops (up to the owners), police stations, etc. Pretty simple, the way they have it worded now is the way a child writes up a rule and it just causes more issues down the road.

    April 12, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  12. jordan


    April 12, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Varangian

      So you're saying that for a country to be democratic it has to step on religious rights? That doesn't sound very democratic.

      My faith demands that I grow out my beard and not damage it in any fashion. Should I shave it off just because I live in America?

      April 12, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • Peedy Oor-ree-on

      Here, here.

      April 13, 2011 at 4:19 am |
  13. Molly

    I think the first thing that needs to be considered is that in France, they don't see things the way we do. We, for example, see freedom as the primary objective, opting to give women the right to wear their burqa or niqab as they wish. We also have no problem with the wearing of other religious symbols. In France, however, they are very interested in the egality of all people. This means that no one can wear religious symbols in schools or government buildings, and no one can cover their faces completely with a burqa in general. It just is an extremist form of religion that the French government will not tolerate.

    I don't think anyone's trying to stop them from practicing their faith, they're just trying to stop extremism. And their values are different (they prefer secularism to Freedom of Religion).

    Do I think this is right? Well, as an American, I have a hard time agreeing with this policy, but after spending a few months in France and living in a French household, I can see why they do that. It's just a different way of seeing things, even if it's a little extreme.

    April 12, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  14. derp

    I feel really bad for female ninja's. They get shafted in this whole thing.

    Have ninja's ever been suicide bombers....Nnnooooo.

    April 12, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  15. Yasmin

    What a disgrace! I agree with all that are against this. What is the world coming to? If muslim women want to wear Burqa's or Niqab's they can, it's their faith.
    This is very discriminatory!
    Would the Jews like it if they weren't allowed to wear their caps and hats? Wouldn't the French (christians, EVEN BETTER, EVERY CHRISTIAN) be mortified if they weren't allowed to wear a necklace with the cross on it?

    This is horrible, it is going to get WAY out of hand if they end up baning them wearing scarfs! Because it's in Islam that the women shoul cover her shoulders, chest and hair – nothing about face- but IF they were to do that, it is going totoally out of hand and is even more terrible!

    What on earth are going through their minds? Why did they suddenly just say "Lets ban Burqa's!"

    April 12, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Peedy Oor-ree-on

      These women are not protesting violation of religious freedom. They are practicing the peaceful implementation of Islam, which has no religious tolerance whatsoever. See my reply to Soldierboy35 above. Then, check out http://www.IslamQA.com yourself.

      April 13, 2011 at 4:16 am |
  16. DHS

    This is so the facial recognition cameras can scan you more easily. War on you.

    April 12, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  17. Artist

    So how iwll they ID the woman if they never can see her face. Did they take the viel off when they arrested her? This is more about fighting woman oppression than security. No doubt the Burka is a sign of woman oppression. I wonder if they could have passed a law id ing the Burka as offensive.

    April 12, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  18. Yoann

    For having the largest Muslim population in Europe, I've never heard of any terror attacks(not saying all terrorists are Muslim) in France so I don't why the French government would pass a law which is pure provocation

    April 12, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  19. Lorraine

    What's the difference between forcing someone to wear a veil and forcing someone NOT to wear a veil? In both cases, a group has set itself up in judgment over others, saying that their way is the only right way. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    April 12, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • Siara Delyn

      Their way is the right way if they are trying to protect the indigenous culture which has evolved there over thousands of years. If a French woman wore Parisian clothing in a Muslim city she would be pelted with rocks.

      April 12, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • LEB

      What's the difference? It's the social norm in France to not cover the face. Living in a particular country means adopting the social norms. Westerners who visit certain Middle Eastern countries know that they may be required to don a face scarf or other head covering. People who don't like that requirement just don't friggin' go to the Middle East.

      April 13, 2011 at 12:11 am |
  20. Soldierboy35

    I find myself torn by this subject....Though I am very well aware, as most all of you are, that extremeists (whether Muslim or not) will manipulate certain laws or lack of laws, as well as utilize religious anonymity in order to carry out their plots. Does passing a law to make it easier to see the faces of a possible suspect in an instance where quick facial recognition is important to identify possible suspects connected to the plot...Of course, however, is it right to do it at the cost of religious freedom? I do not believe so. I think I would be fined everyday and eventually thrown in jail if I was told I could not be seen going to a Christian church or a Mosque or , really, any other religious belief I may have.

    No one in the world should ever be told and no government should be allowed to stop any human being from practicing his or her faith. What comes next??? Are they going to physically stop Muslim's from stopping where they are at the time of daily prayer to remove them from being seen by the public, in order to remove what they think causes fear in the people?

    April 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • stephen

      I too feel torn between right & wrong here, but the bottom line is security. I'm not a believer in the muslim, christian, or any other religious belief, but a spiritualist. I believe everyone has a right to believe in what they choose, but security comes first & foremost in this day and age. You can't walk into a store wearing a Halloween mask, right? So, why should someone walk in wearing a veil? There is NO difference. A person can believe in Halloween just as much as Muslim, Christianity, etc. Personally, I think people need to free their mind's of ignorance and have some self esteem.

      April 12, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Siara Delyn

      I feel confused about this subject too. On one hand I feel like it's not a government's business how people dress. On the other hand, France has a huge Muslim population that has decided they want to own land in France but hate everything French and refuse to participate in the culture at all. So why are these people living there if they hate the culture? Why don't they do something to improve conditions in their own country or move to a country where they DO like the culture. What they're doing now is simply occupying French land.

      April 12, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • Adno Diriye

      61:9. He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad ) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islamic Monotheism) to make it victorious over all (other) religions even though the Mushrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah and in His Messenger Muhammad ) hate (it)....... No men Or Government can tell a Muslim women what to wear like or not... is our a choice and Allah will protect us ... my Muslim sister may Allah make Ur stronger and Allah will not let go of y'all when y'all are a true believers...... we will make du'aa for all y'all i love y'all for Allah sake that make us sister....

      April 12, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • Polivar

      Huhuhuh. I love it!! The "freedom-loving and civilized" europeans show their true colors again... Coming Soon, Bosnia part II, this time in western Europe.
      Did they really release her or is she on her way to Guantanamo? – no torture of course. πŸ™‚
      Dress code should be left to private establishments. In Iran there are malls where people with burkas are not permitted and the government cant do anything about it. (although surprisingly there are fewer women who want to wear burkas in Iran than there are in Europe!)

      April 12, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • Peedy Oor-ree-on

      I urge you to check out the website, http://www.IslamQA.com. The answers are made by "Sheikh Muhammad Salih al-Munajjid, a well known author and lecturer, using only authentic, scholarly sources based on the Quran and sunnah, and other reliable contemporary scholarly opinions.”

      Go to the section on politics. The third question is regarding democracy. The answer is that "it is contrary to Islam..."

      Every good Muslim is urged to do everything he/she can to implement the shariah of Islam. If this means working within the system to "overturn the system of government..." and implement the sharia, then this is what Muslims are ordered to do.

      Other shocking statements:

      "Men are superior to women..."
      "It is forbidden to play music or to stand for the national anthem or salute the flag..."
      "All other religions are either fabricated or false or abrogated..."
      "Muslims fight to free people from the injustice of other religions..."

      This website reveals that Islam is not just a religion. It is a theocratic autocracy, ruling every aspect of life. There is no religious tolerance, no acceptance of any other system of government, no personal freedom of choice, unless you’re a man, choosing another wife.

      The goal is world domination. These are not mine, but the words of "authentic, scholarly sources based on the Quran and sunnah, and other reliable contemporary scholarly opinions.”

      Americans need to wake up to the true goals of Islam. We are ignorant of this because we are so used to thinking of religion as separate from government. In Islam, there is no such thing. Religion and government are one in the same.

      April 13, 2011 at 4:07 am |
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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.