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April 25th, 2011
03:55 PM ET

France's Islamic veil ban spurs passionate reaction worldwide

(CNN) - When Zahra Jaferi heard that France had banned the wearing of certain types of traditional Islamic headscarves in public, she said she felt conflicting emotions.

A practicing Shiite Muslim and correspondent for The Trentonian newspaper in New Jersey, Jaferi wears a headscarf, saying she believes strongly in her right to express freedom of religion.

At the same time, she said France has a right to preserve its culture and traditions.

CNN's iReport asked its community of citizen-journalists to offer their opinion on the ban and the larger role of Islam in modern society. Jaferi is one of several iReporters who responded.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church and state • France • Islam • Muslim

soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. Evelyn

    Muslims impose their laws in their own countries on everyone else, eg banning alcohol and do not care about how they feel and we respect that, without protest. Yet when we require them to obey our laws, they scream bloody murder. It is time they learn to respect us in our own land as we have done.

    September 22, 2011 at 5:24 am |
  2. Dre

    how many hijabi women have you all actually seen on the streets....really!!! most muslim woman stay in their homes so they dont have to both with you all...so why are you bothing them?

    THEY DONT BOTHER YOU

    May 15, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
  3. ruemorgue

    Islam, Sharia is nothing but excuses used by Islamic Fascists to impose their sickness on everyone. Finally, a country in Europe has begun to awaken to the threat that Islamic Fascism presents to the Western World. When will people begin to realize the obvious - Islam is *nothing* like Western or Far Eastern religions and societies. It is the modern psychological Back Plague - only death comes from it.

    May 15, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
  4. Jibaro

    No Sharia Law in America. America is land of the free, the home of the braves!

    May 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  5. Jibaro

    If the Muslims wants their religion, rags and Sharia Law, get out of my Country, USA. Our technology and quality of life is not for our enemies. You Muslims have come to settle into America but you do not wish to integrate into America. Go back to your sand dunes and leave us in peace.

    May 7, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  6. rene trentin

    y agree with jeremy many tousand years.
    just pas the worlds ,take one third of war money for this year,
    by a vacation to all the lands ocupied in my planet send these people in vacation.
    brake all churches in litle peaces give a peace to heach individual
    and then send the bomb so no one can clame these places anymore.
    by the way it whas done tousands of years ago alredy.
    seems we never lurn.
    t y for reading and think about it

    May 4, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  7. jeremy

    Religion is the root of all evil. What a wonderful world it would be if we got rid of all religions and just lived our lives as human beings. We people always label and judge people. It surely is a shame that religion keeps us apart and we turn on people because of their beliefs.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • Jibaro

      You are right! All religions should be banned. Religion is the refuge of the ignorant and unlearned...

      May 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  8. Bill

    When I saw a school bus driver with it on in Phila, I think you need to draw the line somewhere.

    May 4, 2011 at 7:26 am |
  9. Guidance

    O fools, don't you know that, all universe belong to Allah only, and you are free to choose and do whatever you like in this world but be careful, very careful, whatever seed you will sow here, you will reap in the Next life and that is either Paradise or Blazing Hell. Just use common sense and be real human, if you go to jungle, would you act same as animals? Allah has set the laws for the humans, whoever abides by His laws will be successfull in this life and as well as in the Next. This life is a place for your trial, to Him is your final return. If all humans become pious like His prophets, His Kingdom will not increase, and all you become like a Devil, His Kingdom will not decrease, but followers of Devil will soon taste the Fire of Hell, so, enjoy this short life, soon you will know, who will be the biggest losers in this life and as well in the Next.

    May 4, 2011 at 2:50 am |
  10. Guest Jaban

    Women are conditioned from a young age on into believing they have to cover their faces. If there was equality, men should also be forced to cover their faces the same way! Bottom line, every country has laws, a culture, traditions and certain values. If you choose to live in Rome, do as the Romans!. If you want to live by medieval standards and in line with your religion, fine, no problem, but choose the right country where that is the norm and do not try to force your values onto your adopted country. If you choose to live in any Western country, live by Western standards and values!

    May 4, 2011 at 12:49 am |
  11. Chris Tennant

    This is an argument in which nobody will ever win, for there always will be reasons both religiously and politically and pro and con why the Muslim veil should or not be worn. There will be arguments that wearing the veil is protected by religious and custom law. On the other hand one can argue that security of its' citizens matters above all else. I have my own personal beliefs about this subject but in lieu of starting heated words between factions I tend to keep my mouth shut.

    May 3, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
  12. Native American Indian - Muslim!!!

    Muslim is not a race people!!! I am Native American Indian and Muslim! If this law happened in the United States, where would I go? I now have to leave my family, my country, and move to some foreign country that has Islamic law? Have you people lost your minds? Why are you filled with such hate? Imagine if the tables were turned? Many of those muslim countries you mentioned have Islamic law, which is very few of those countries... Many countries in the middle east have majority muslim with christian, jewish, and hindu. They are living fine, with there churches/temples for centuries.

    I enjoyed this comment:
    "everyone knows that this is complete bigotry on France's part and they just want to scare/annoy the Muslims out of their country. Too bad Islam isn't a nationality or a race, its someone's personal religion. And many French Muslims aren't even immigrants. Its sad that a government openly proves itself to be so ignorant, instead of accepting. We should be thankful we live in America, and hope our country never comes to that point."

    May 3, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • Person

      You wouldn't have to "go" anywhere. You could stay here and just not wear the full veil. France has long since been a heavily secular country – you cannot wear crucifixes to schools or government jobs, for example. Their goal is to leave religion out of their public sector, and that includes Christianity and Islam alike.

      May 3, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
    • FaolRua

      I agree 100%. To hear France's xenophobia lauded as "bravery" is laughable. These are the same people who tried to justify banning a full-body swimsuit from public pools by claiming it's not "hygenic."

      I can say one thing...France is not a country I will be visiting any time soon. I have no desire to spend my tourist dollars in a nation so filled with bigotry.

      May 15, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
  13. Bornfree71

    Of all the middle-eastern countries that require the niqab, CNN found only 2 photos from – of all the places, India??!?!

    May 3, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  14. Ted

    I f muslims want to hide thrir faces like outlaws let them go back a muslim country .If i go to Saudi Arabia I MUST observe muslim customs.I must obay Saudi law. If I go to France I will have to obay French law. Why should muslims think they are better than French citizens? But that is the muslim mind set. They think only laws that accomadate muslim customs shuold be passed. SURPRISE.

    May 3, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Leonard Lobel

      Spot on, Ted

      May 3, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • Duke

      Got it 100% right Ted, that is the difference bettween those who intergrate and settlers- the whole purpose of the covering goes back 1000's of years, it was ment to keep other men from taking your woman? The Koran does NOT even state it is manditory to cover up ones women
      My hat off to Florida which REFUSED to give FL Drivers licnen to woman who would NOT remove her vail for picture- lost in court

      May 4, 2011 at 8:08 am |
    • scarls

      So, I guess you think that nuns shouldn't wear habits either ... they are, after all, headscarves and full body cover because the Catholic church thinks they shouldn't show any skin. The French are just falling for the age old ploy of pitting "us" against "them". Make the peons hate each other so they will never focus their anger on those who are really hell bent on enslaving them - the super elite who control the money and the governments. But, every devil needs his minions and idiots like you are playing the role so well. While you cower in fear over the "brown boogeymans" of the world, the real villians are plotting how to send your kids off to die in foreign wars for their gain and how to steal more of your hard earned money through austerity measures and taxes. But, go ahead and celebrate your "victory" over Muslims.

      May 4, 2011 at 8:23 am |
    • Colin in Florida

      Ted, you are so right.

      Scarls, You don't get it. Cover your head with a scarf, fine-no one has an issue with that. Muslims, Sikhs, because you have cancer and are bald, whatever, no problem. No one would care. Covering your face, that's a different matter. In western culture, robbers and criminals cover their face, not normal people. Imaging owning a store. A person wearing a floor-length veil with face covering walks in. Is it a demure muslim female or a man with a sawed-off shotgun wanting to rob and kill you.

      May 4, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • sha

      Scarls, I don't think there would be a comparable issue with Catholic nuns habits. Of the numerous nuns I've met, none of their orders required wearing the habit. They typically wore a plain conservative skirt and blouse that was not uncommon for the general population. I've only met a few elderly nuns a couple of decades ago in a retirement home that chose to wear the full habit. As a whole, the issue would not be comparable, would only arise for a limited number, and could be successfully addressed within the general faith.

      May 4, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Eric J

      You are TOTALLY RIGHT!!! America needs a testosterone boost. Why are we afraid to preserve our culture. If we don't sooner or later make English the official language and implement our way of doing things, we will soon see ourselves bending and bending to accommodate those that will never assimilate until they totally take over.

      May 15, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • FaolRua

      Actually, many of the Muslims this will affect ARE French citizens.

      May 15, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
  15. Leonard Lobel

    Islam is a cancer in this world

    May 3, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Kamruz Hosein

      CH2.V136. Say ye: "We believe in Almighty God (Allah), and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to all prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one or the other. We bow to Almighty God in faith."
      CH5. V69. Those who believe in the Qur'an, those who follow the Jewish scriptures, and the Sabians and the Christians, – anyone who believes in Almighty God (Allah) and the Last Day, and work righteousness, – on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
      CH3. V3. It is He Who sent down to thee, step by step, in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law of Moses and the Gospel of Jesus before this Quran, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion of judgment between right and wrong.
      How can the following teachings be a cancer. A religion whose teachings are inclusive of the previous Prophets of God. Your view obviously is based on a lack of knowledge, not that that you are to be blamed entirely. I, as a Muslim will have to accept much of the blame.
      CH2.V285. The Messenger believeth in what was revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one of them believeth in Almighty God (Allah), His angels, His books, and His apostles. "We make no distinction between one and the other of Almighty God’s apostles." And they say: "We hear, and we obey: We seek Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys."

      May 3, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
    • tezhowes

      Not quite. RELIGION is a cancer on this world. Islam is just its most virulent form.

      May 4, 2011 at 4:20 am |
    • Elarios

      A scarf or any symbol can do no harm to anybody so why does the question even rises in the first place? Are we so provoked by those passionate souls that we choose to defy their existence and shatter their virtues. This seems so preposterous and sad at the same time, it's a form of false nationalism as there should be liberty and justice in democratic society and this ban is an extreme ridicule.

      May 8, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Eric J

      Good for France! Due to their strong stand on the preservation of their culture, they will avoid the chaos that England is encountering with the muslims that live there. They want to alter peoples culture with radical islamic belief and fear tactics. The heroic stand that France is taking should be mimic here in the United States. It is ridiculous that in Islamic law you can't show your hair, and in many cases your hair. A woman in their religion can be stoned, killed by her own family members for showing her hair! I can't walk around cover with a mask, they should not. I don't want to have them change my American culture. I bet if the people that oppose to the fact that in these "Western" countries why don't all muslims go to a country that is Islamic, so they can dress and impose their religion.

      May 15, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • Jen

      I came to the USA because I admired their culture. I agree with France! Kudos for trying to preserve your culture. As a woman I am fearful that these people will eventually change the way things are done here. I hope that all Americans and foreigners who believe as I do in the American way of life, will ban together to do as the French!. Look at Michigan, they are trying to impose their religion and their language. These are the same people that celebrated 9/11 in the streets in towns in Michigan. Preserve the American Culture!!!! Not racism, just preservation of what makes America great!

      May 15, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
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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.