As French Ban On Veils Goes Into Effect, Some Women Defy The Law

Apr 11, 2011

"France's new ban on Islamic face veils was met with a burst of defiance Monday," The Associated Press reports from Paris, "as several women appeared veiled in front of Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral and two were detained for taking part in an unauthorized protest."

As Eleanor Beardsley reported for Morning Edition, the new law imposes fines on women who wear full face coverings — such as the niqab that leaves only a slit for their eyes or the burqa, which has mesh that covers the face.

An estimated 2,000 or so of France's 5 million Muslims would be affected. As Eleanor reported, women who do wish to wear such veils say the law infringes on their personal freedoms.

But as the BBC writes, "the French government says the face-covering veil undermines the basic standards required for living in a shared society and also relegates its wearers to an inferior status incompatible with French notions of equality." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit