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Fashion Police: France Votes to Ban the Burqa

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Posted on Sep 14, 2010
Flickr / Tinou Bao (CC-BY)

The French Senate voted 246-1 Tuesday to make it illegal for women to wear garments that cover their entire faces. The law, if greenlighted by a constitutional body, will affect only a few thousand people, but its implications for religious freedom and women’s rights have attracted international interest.


The bill makes it illegal to wear garments such as the niqab or burqa, which incorporate a full-face veil, anywhere in public.

It envisages fines of 150 euros (£119) for women who break the law and 30,000 euros and a one-year jail term for men who force their wives to wear the burqa.

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By nemesis2010, September 17, 2010 at 11:13 am Link to this comment

Ahhhh… the American Left once again cowering and running up the white flag of surrender. Why doesn’t the author of this piece of trash article write one about all the Islamic countries that have banned the wearing of such insane dress? This dress is not a matter of rights but rather religious oppression by men who fear that all women are whores who cannot control their sexual appetites.

And don’t kid yourselves, there’s an element of security attached to this issue due to the barbaric terrorist activities of the adherents of the so-called religion of peace.

France… the scorn of the so-called American right has more testicles and good sense than the scalawags of the so-called American Left.

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By Alex, September 16, 2010 at 8:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have never been so outraged by everyone’s lack of faith in humanity. Despite their reasoning, it’s obvious France’s main reason is security. If someone goes to rob a bank they’re going to wear a mask anyways!

Besides, there are many women out there that feel their mind should be judged and not her body. France should be promoting independence not taking away a woman’s freedom to choose.

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By FRTothus, September 16, 2010 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

The moral cowardice and callous disregard for others by some of the posters here is just shocking.  As exemplified by those posters here, and yellow journalism elsewhere, it is apparent that far too many Americans are completely obsessed with their own security fears, and intolerant of anyone who dares stray from the narrow boundaries of that chimera of “Western norms”.  The wholesale acceptance of the official nightmare fable of “Muslim extremists” shows American popular gullibility for what it is, and the support shown here for French fashion intolerance highlights sheer hypocrisy.

Timothy McVeigh was a Christian, does that justify war on all Christians?  Israel regularly attacks Palestinian civilians and ignore International Law, so maybe we should round up all the Jews?  And I suppose Pat Robertson speaks for all Christians.

I’m sorry, but I hold the allegedly advanced and allegedly tolerant West up to a higher standard than the dictatorship the US lavishly supports in Saudi Arabia. If the French don’t like the way some of their citizens dress, then they are free to dress themselves differently.

Leave these people alone!  Is it not enough the Christian West has bombed them and sanctioned them and starved them for decades?  In fact, this Christian Crusade against those who think differently or dress differently or worship differently has been going on for more than 500 years already. Let’s stop pretending how tolerant and enlightened and civilized we are, and recognize that we are at least as backward and fundamentalist as we accuse those we love to hate as being.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, September 16, 2010 at 4:52 am Link to this comment

So it goes, if a women is a guest in a country which demands the wearing of the Burqua, like Saudi Arabia then she the female must wear one, but in France should it not be up to the French to request people not to wear the Burqua?

Showing ones religious proclivity on the public street seems an in your face activity, sort of like the Green Bay Cheese Heads!

If one was a nudist of some religious nature, the same argument would seem to entitle them to walk around the streets naked in support of their belief.
Similar to the Catholic Nun the Burqua symbolizes womens inferiority to the male I find such blatant sexism distasteful and sad. 

If a women visits Saudi Arabia she is requested or demanded to dress according to their laws. When one brings their law as a guest into an other country, this seems a bit pushy, so with the new world order how will this end?

We must change the saying, when in Rome do as you want and did at home!

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By robert puglia, September 15, 2010 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

if people have the right to live as they please,
which peoples’ rights prevail? the host country is
not obligated to please its guests. if there is
something desirable about living in a place which
forbids one’s traditional dress, one must weigh
one’s commitments to living in that alien culture.
if the aggrieved party is a natural or naturalized
citizen they can petition the government for change.
when local police are summoned to somali enclaves of
america, they are prohibited from addressing females
directly or even pointing at the men, not that i’m a
fan of police. as a native born citizen, i am not
free from unreasonable search or seizure in my home,
car or person.
as for america, i don’t recognize this society which
seeks “the candid acceptance of ‘the other’ on an
even level”. from the days of edward winslow, the
other has always been the enemy.

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By Caroline Lear, September 15, 2010 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Viav la France. Good, stop the Muslims in their tracts.
Freedom of Religion, my butt!! As a married female, I had a run in with them (MUslims)  in Paris. I’d just as soon ban them as I would their head coverings. If God wanted them to be covered, they would have been born covered from head to toe

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By Ken, September 15, 2010 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It does not matter what the burqa represents, people have a right to wear anything they want. So if its oppressive for a woman to wear a burqa, can a man walk around town covering himself from head to toe? What would that mean to the French?

The problem with this type of thinking is, it imposes an idea of freedom on people which is exactly what freedom does not mean. What if a woman wants to wear it herself without any pressure from her family? Would that still be oppression? In that case the French are trying to make a statement that such ideas are philosophically backward and oppressive. In other words, European way of life is superior of what is coming from the muslim world - which is not too surprising since this is what Europeans have always believed.

I’m glad that such a move will never be accepted in America as the courts will throw it out as soon as the case is brought in for hearing.

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By pamelia kurstin, September 15, 2010 at 11:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

wow… so, does this mean that any woman who works at euro disney (in france!) who is wearing one of those mini mouse costumes which cover the face (AND THE EYES!) will be fined?!

if this only applies to women, i sure hope a bunch of men put on some burqas and niqabs and walk the streets… they wont get fined!  and will give the french police something to keep busy with while perhaps something truly worth policing goes unchecked…

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, September 15, 2010 at 9:42 am Link to this comment

My individual choice to wear pantyhose over my head while driving turned out to be a disaster when the panty legs got tangled in the steering wheel while going down Lombard Street in San Francisco! ......Plus I do not recommend wearing them on your head when going to the bank!

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By Mike789, September 15, 2010 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

Although I’m a proponent of individual rights, given the contemporary threat of extremists, (and that threat is palpable in Europe more so than in the U.S. as evidenced by the predominance of targeted attacks there), I can see how a religious custom can be interpreted as an intrigue, especially when that custom is quite out of the main stream and even emblematic of a threat. There is no denying the attribution and affirmation of responsibility for attacks has come from a particular religious culture.

The distinction of whether it is a radical interpretation of that religion or not is not readily discernible to the average citizen even though the majority of those observing that religion are innocent. And because concealment is inherent in the custom, it adds to the emotive response to “an unknown” which is always exaggerated in scope.

From this I affirm a relinquishment of that custom in the interests of the society as a whole.

Also, in the West, [and this is not “elsewhere”. This “is” the West] we are accustomed to assemble and congregate in an “open” forum where face to face interaction has been established and is inherently vital to the futherance of the society. Our culture, often with the shedding of blood, evolved out of the sheer desire for self expression and the candid acceptance of “the other” on an even level. One does not have to participate in the forum, but to condone concealment, undermines it’s integrity. It’s not a mascarade. Play by the rules.

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By Mr. Magoo, September 15, 2010 at 5:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

France is wrong to make it illegal for women to wear garments that cover their entire faces. Woman and men should be able to wear whatever they want.

In fact, men should be able to walk around town wearing something similar that covers their identity as well.

People should be able to cover their entire faces for religious and nonreligious reasons. For some reason people are afraid of those who look different from themselves.

I believe that society invests too much energy and money in fashion. But those who find it necessary, for whatever reason, to mask their identities should be able to do so.

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By FRTothus, September 15, 2010 at 4:57 am Link to this comment

And what about the wearing of yarmulkes?  Shouldn’t
that be banned, too?  Shouldn’t the wearing of crosses
be banned, also?

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By expat in germany, September 14, 2010 at 10:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m puzzled by this issue, which would seem to be a no-brainer. If wearing the burqa is merely a matter of religious freedom or a woman’s personal preference, and thereby doesn’t affect anyone but the wearer, then it should be allowed as an individual right.

However, if wearing it conceals the identity of the person in such a way that it would be difficult or impossible to identify the person (in the event of a crime), then it infringes on the rights of others, and should therefore not be allowed.

Am I missing something here?

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By ejreed, September 14, 2010 at 7:42 pm Link to this comment

Resisting France’s Attempt to Ban the Veil
Thirty one-year-old Kenza Drider, who wears a veil in public, says no matter what the French Senate decides she plans to continue her life as normal.

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By Big B, September 14, 2010 at 6:24 pm Link to this comment

if you want to be a part of polite western society, you must leave your old world,sexist, religious doctrine behind you. (you hear me catholics?)

I realize it’s a bit of a conundrum, do people have the freedom to oppress other peoples freedom. Does a free man in a free society have the right to oppress women?


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