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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.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: France • Islam

April 12th, 2011
01:48 PM ET

Debating France's new burqa ban

Eliot Spitzer speaks with Hebah Ahmed, founder of Muslim Women Outreach, on France's controversial ban on wearing Islamic veils such as burqas, which took effect Monday.

Debating Ahmed is Mona Eltahawy, a New York-based journalist and commentator and an international lecturer on Arab and Muslim issues. Her essays make her one of only a few writers whose work appears regularly in both the Arab and U.S. media.

The ban pertains to the burqa, a full-body covering that includes a mesh window over the face, and the niqab, a full-face veil that leaves an opening only for the eyes. 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.

Read the full post on the burqa ban debate on the In the Arena blog
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: France • Islam

April 11th, 2011
11:45 AM ET

Explainer: Islamic headscarves and France's new burqa ban

France's controversial ban on wearing Islamic veils such as burqas took effect Monday.

The ban pertains to the burqa, a full-body covering that includes a mesh window over the face, and the niqab, a full-face veil that leaves an opening only for the eyes.

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.

Click through the gallery to see what the main types of Islamic headscarves look like - and to see what's banned and what's not under France's new law.

- CNN Belief Blog

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

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

French artist gives the Virgin Mary a makeover
March 15th, 2011
04:00 PM ET

French artist gives the Virgin Mary a makeover

Religious symbols are, next to fast-food logos, generally regarded as the most universal symbols we have - which means that poking fun at them opens artists up to a potential world of feedback and backlash.

One such artist is sculptor Soasig Chamaillard, who recently got French blogs buzzing with an exhibition of her Virgin Mary sculptures - which come in astronaut, My Little Pony, and geisha renditions, among others.

Read the full story on TIME.com
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Culture wars • France • Virgin Mary

France's burqa ban in effect next month
A survey in 2010 found that more than four out of five French people backed a ban on wearing the burqa in public places.
March 4th, 2011
10:45 AM ET

France's burqa ban in effect next month

Paris (CNN) - France's law banning the burqa and other Islamic face coverings in public places will go into effect on April 11, the prime minister's office said.

"The French Republic lives in a bare-headed fashion," French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said this week in an official government newspaper explaining the law.

The law imposes a fine of 150 euros ($190). The person breaking the law can be asked to carry out public service duty as part of the punishment or as an alternative to the fine.

The law, which was enacted in October, set down a six-month period to inform people of the penalty before it went into effect.

Penalties for forcing a person to wear a burqa are part of the law, and they became effective immediately in October.

Forcing a woman to wear a niqab or a burqa is punishable by a year in prison and a 30,000 euro fine. Forcing a minor to do the same thing is punishable by two years in prison and 60,000 euro.

Read the full story here about France's burqa ban.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Culture wars • Europe • France • Islam

Elizabeth Smart's other journey
November 8th, 2010
08:05 PM ET

Elizabeth Smart's other journey

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

In a courtroom in Utah this week, Elizabeth Smart revisited the darkest  days of her life's journey. But her testimony came during a short break from a spiritual journey - one that has shielded her from reminders of her abduction, the nine-month ordeal and the attention that's followed her.

For more than a year, Smart, who recently turned 23, has been in the midst of her LDS Church mission, a rite of passage hallowed by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Serving in Paris, France, she is among the 52,000 Mormon missionaries - most of them young adults; the others retired couples - who are knocking on doors and speaking 107 different languages in 180 countries, according to Lyman Kirkland, a church spokesman.

Those overseeing Smart’s mission didn’t return a call to CNN to discuss her missionary work. But if her time in the field is typical, here’s a glimpse into how she’s been living.

FULL POST

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Courts • France • Mormonism • Utah

October 27th, 2010
09:51 PM ET

France threatened in alleged Bin Laden tape

A man purporting to be Osama Bin Laden warned France to get its troops out of Afghanistan and not to oppress Muslims at home in a tape broadcast by the Al-Jazeera network Wednesday.

"If you want to tyrannize and think that it is your right to ban the free women from wearing the burqa, isn't it our right to expel your occupying forces, your men from our lands by striking them by the neck?" the speaker demands, in reference to recently passed French legislation barring women from covering their faces in public.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Europe • France • Islam

October 15th, 2010
03:03 PM ET

Carla Bruni banned from the Vatican

It's not often a former model and pop singer gets scratched from a guest list. But earlier this month French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy was warned to stay away from the Vatican – by the Pope himself.

Ahead of President Sarkozy's 30-minute audience with the Pontiff earlier this month, Vatican officials sent the French ambassador a message saying: "Carla Sarkozy is not welcome in the Vatican."

The message, which led her to stay in Paris, is said to be over the Pope's fears that more racy photographs of her days as a catwalk model would emerge.

Read the full storn on TIME.com

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Europe • France • Leaders • Pope Benedict XVI

French burqa ban clears last legal obstacle
October 7th, 2010
03:39 PM ET

French burqa ban clears last legal obstacle

France's law banning the burqa and other Islamic face coverings in public places is legal, top constitutional authorities in France ruled Thursday, clearing the final hurdle before the ban goes into effect.

The ban passed both houses of the French legislature by overwhelming margins earlier this year, and is scheduled to come into effect in the spring.

The law imposes a fine of 150 euros ($190) and/or a citizenship course as punishment for wearing a face-covering veil. Forcing a woman to wear a niqab or a burqa will be punishable by a year in prison or a 15,000-euro ($19,000) fine, the government said, calling it "a new form of enslavement that the republic cannot accept on its soil."

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church and state • Courts • Culture wars • France • Islam • Religious liberty

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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.

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