Muslim Women Protest French Burqa Ban

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France's new law banning the Islamic face veil has been met with protests, arrests, and charges of Islamophobia.

Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral was a media circus on Monday, where several women expressed their opposition to the new law by wearing their veils.

"This is an attack on my freedom of conscience, my freedom of religion, my freedom simply of being a woman, so this is a really big attack on my own life," one female protester said.

Another woman wearing a veil said, "God willing, I am going to continue to wear this.  We are free to practice our religion because it is our democratic right."

Shannon Demos, senior counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice, talked more about the burqa ban an the impact of Islam on Europe on the CBN News Channels' Morning News, April 12. Click play for her comments following Dale Hurd's report.

For a long time, the French establishment and media had generally viewed restrictions on Muslims as racist and Islamophobic.

"I am completely against this law because everyone is free to do what they want," said another female demonstrator.

"We are in France," she continued. "We are in a democratic country where everyone has the right to do what they want.

'Law Not Racist'

But according to French economist Laurent Berrebe, the law isn't racist.

"You need to understand the history of France to accept this kind of law," Berrebe explained. "It's not something racist. It's not a racist law. It's just a law that is coming from the history of France and so you need to accept it, if you want to integrate into France and to the French people."

France has finally being forced to deal with an issue that's been swept under the carpet for decades -- the failure of Muslim integration and growing Islamic separatism and radicalism.

However, many of the nation's elites believed it is political incorrect to discuss the issue. Consequently, those who oppose Muslim immigration were labeled as racist.

Sarkozy Get Tough on Islam

That line of thought began to change -- especially after an influential poll last month showed the leader of the right-wing National Front party, Marine Le Pen, would defeat French President Nicholas Sarkozy in the next presidential election.

Le Pen has made it clear that she intends to crack down on Muslim immigration and religious displays like worshippers who block the streets during Friday prayers.  Her stance has forced Sarkozy to look tougher on the Islam issue.

Sarkozy fired his former adviser on integration, Abderrahmane Dahmane, after he urged Muslims to leave the ruling UMP party. 

Dahmane later called on French Muslims to wear a green star in protest of the whole "anti-Islam" debate, similar to the yellow star that Jews were forced to wear under Nazi occupation.

Stage Set for Showdown

Meanwhile, the veil ban has set the stage for a showdown between the government, police, and Muslims.

"I wear a full face veil because it is a submission to God," one female opponent of the burqa ban said. "I wear the veil like the women of the Prophet Mohammed did, to dress the same way as them.

"This government law is anti-Muslim and racist because it goes against the freedom of religion and the women who want to wear the Muslim veil," she added.

The fine for wearing a veil outside of a home or car is about $200.  Police have been instructed not to use force to remove the veils, and only in very extreme cases will a woman be jailed for wearing it.

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Dale Hurd

Dale Hurd

CBN News Sr. Reporter

A CBN News veteran, Dale Hurd has reported extensively from Western Europe, as well as China, Russia, and Central and South America.  Since 9/11, Dale has reported in depth on various aspects of the global war on terror in the United States and Europe.  Follow Dale on Twitter @HurdontheWeb and "like" him at Facebook.com/DaleHurdNews.