Follow Christiane on social media:

On Twitter + Facebook + Instagram Amanpour producers on Twitter

What time is Amanpour on CNN?

Check showtimes to see when Amanpour is on CNN where you are. Or watch online.

Check showtimes to see when Amanpour is on CNN where you are. Or watch online.

Burqa becomes focus of tense debate in Europe

February 4th, 2010
12:40 PM ET

By Tom Evans; Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.

As France moves closer to a partial ban on the burqa, a leading European lawmaker declared Wednesday that the full Muslim veil is a symbol of political Islam and has no place in Europe.

"The majority (of Europeans) don't want the political Islam and the symbols of political Islam. And the burqa is part of the political Islam that the majority rejects," Naser Khader, a Syrian-born Conservative member of the Danish Parliament, told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

But he insisted that opposing political Islam is not the same as being "Islamophobic."

"Wearing the burqa and niqab is oppressive of women. And many Muslims are against the burqa and niqab," he said, referring to Islamic women's clothing that covers from head to toe.

// Khader said the majority of the estimated 20 million Muslims living in the European Union are well-integrated, law-abiding and loyal citizens.

"The burqa and niqab have no place in Western Europe", he added.

Khader's remarks reflected the increasingly tense debate in Europe about the role of Islam in the continent's culture and society. A parliamentary commission in France is recommending that women should not be allowed to wear a full veil in public buildings and on public transportation, and the French government this week denied citizenship to a man who ordered his wife to wear the veil.

This debate is also playing out in countries such as Switzerland, where voters last year supported a ban on the construction of minarets on mosques, and in Denmark, where the cartoonist responsible for the 2005 controversial drawings of the Prophet Mohammad survived a New Year's Day attack by a Somali man wielding an ax.

Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan told Amanpour that less than 2,000 women in France are wearing the headscarf and the niqab. He urged lawmakers and others not to escalate the anger to the point where discussion is no longer possible.

"By banning the burqa, banning the way people are dressing, we are against our own values," Ramadan said. "In fact, we are nurturing fear, and we are not having a constructive debate. Islam is a European religion, and it's part of society."

His view was strongly challenged by former Dutch lawmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who has received death threats for her anti-Islamic views and who now lives in the United States.

"Islam is not a European religion," she said. "What we are seeing in Europe is that there is conflict between the values of Europe and the values of Islam."

She added, "We are having a discussion about basic human values that Europeans have resolved and Muslims have not."

Ramadan struck back, saying Hirsi Ali should listen to what U.S. President Barack Obama was saying about Muslims to the Islamic world.

"He was also saying to the Americans, 'Look Islam is an American religion.' We have millions of Europeans who are abiding by the law, speaking the language of the country, and they are now loyal to their country - and they're doing it (the clothing) as an act of faith."

Hirsi Ali, though, referred to the failed Chirstmas Day attempt to bomb a U.S.-bound airliner, saying Muslims are stuffing explosives into their underwear and taking flights to kill innocent people. She said jihad is a major concept in Islam that enables terrorists to say that God is telling them to kill.

She argued that Ramadan wanted to "tranquilize everyone into believing that Islam is a religion of peace."

Ramadan vigorously rejected Hirsi Ali's assertions. He said, "What we have today is a new visibility of Muslims, and that's true."

"Let us really look at the facts and figures. We have a tiny minority of women who are wearing the niqab and the burqa, and we have some extremist views that we have to condemn by saying it's wrong to kill innocent people."

He said no one can impose the wearing of the clothing, and women should be autonomous and free, adding that killing innocent people is simply not acceptable.

Khader told Amanpour, "We have a minority that is living in ghettos and parallel societies... and that's the problem. The small groups are making the problem for the majority."


Filed under:  1 • Islam
soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. Ereic Pollock

    Hi,

    People view this burqa debate as a religious debate, but I believe it is a serious security and public health issue. How do you know who is really inside the burqa? What happnes when someone wearing a burqa enters a liquor store, tobacco shop, or gun store? How can anyone prove who exactly it is?

    I think it is even more serious when you are in the next seat on a plane, train, or bus. What are they carrying under there? And, how do you know they aren't concealing anything under it. It is 2010 and national security and public safety have to come before any individual's religious practices.

    I would hate to find out that teenage boys will discover its use and use it to buy alcohol, guns, cigarettes, and anything else that they can easily obtain from stores where their identity can not be guaranteed..

    It is a serious issue framed in the wrong context.

    February 4, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Reply
  2. Mariane Smith

    If Muslim men applied their strict codes of conduct according to their faith ,the women would not have to cover themselves to "avoid tempting men" – it is oppressive for women to wear the Burqa- I agree
    Cape Town, South Africa

    February 4, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Reply
  3. Femi

    The mistake we make here is to associate the burqa with Islam. Islam requires the hijab for women and not the burqa. The burqa existed long before the advent of Islam and is a cultural rather than a religious requirement. Nowhere in the Koran is it explicitly stated that a woman should wear a veil, the hijab and its dimensions are however explicitly stated. Let us stop dragging Islam into this, Islam does not deprive women of their rights rather it protects and empowers them.

    February 4, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Reply
  4. Simret

    I find it sad to see that European and American muslim women would "choose" to wear a head scarf and burqua knowing that many women in other Muslim countries do not have that choice. Instead of making a point to Europeans and Americans, they should be making a point to those supressing governements and societies. By choosing NOT to wear their headcoverings, would make the point that women are equal to men.

    February 4, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Reply
  5. Stan Willmann

    Wearing of the burqa is not the real issue here! The real issue is about people who choose to relocate but fail to assimilate into society! Western countries accept immigrants from all countries and we respect the rights of religious freedom. However, immigrants should adopt the customs and the language of their host countries.
    Here in the USA, we have far too many immigrants who fail to learn the language. We bend over backwards to accommodate them. The reality is that many of these people fail to assimilate into society, choosing to remain in their close knit communities. Their children are sent to our schools with no language skills, and we are expected to educate them with no help at home! This is a big problem!!!
    Westerners who choose to live abroad should likewise behave and respect the cultures of the countries they choose to live in.
    No one forces people to immigrate to the US, France, Britain, or elsewhere. If people choose to do this, they must respect the culture. It is this attitude of too many immigrants that angers people and politicians are very quick to pick up on this and use it for their own political gains!

    February 4, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  6. SK

    I love Britain, I was born and raised in England, and for people to say that we muslims are trying to make Europe a Muslim continent is Ridiculous. We love Europe for Europe, we don't want to make it our own, I love the Rich History of Europe, so why would we want to change Europe, its Ludicrous.
    And the idea to ban the Burqa goes against the so called 'Freedom of speech' in what people are allowed to wear. How can President Sarkozy say that the Burqa is a prison, when he hasn't even met anyone who wears the Burqa. I myself wear the Burqa but not the veil, and I feel so free when I wear the Burqa than I ever have, so who does Sarkozy think he is to say that women are in Prison, when I feel more comfortable in a burqa then any other clothing. I jus when that wear the burqa, t don't get people who can make assumptions like that and be applauded, when its just 'Islamophibia' from a so called leader of a free country.
    I love the UK for it being the UK, and wouldnt change it, because being born in England has made my faith stronger, because it is not a Muslim country and allows me to look into my religion for my own and helps me expand my faith on my own accord. I love Britain, because it is such a multi-cultural country that It makes people feel a sense of belonging and helps everyone intergrate.
    P.S. Sorry, about the essay above, its just I saw Amanpour today at 1pm and I felt that people should actually hear from a 21 year old, who loves wearing the Burqa. Thank you for reading.

    February 4, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Reply
  7. yahye abdulle

    It saddens me that Mr. Khader is tryin to make a political view out of 200 women out of 5 million people in Denmark wearing the burka or the hijab. Can I ask him how many woman are being domestically abused in Denmark. By trying to turn the burka into a political point saying that it opresses woman, what do you think you are doing by trying to ban it. You guessed it right, your opressing the few that want wear it. Let's try and help the opressed but let us not be the opressors.

    Yours truly,

    Yahye Abdulle

    February 4, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Reply
  8. leebeth wolfson

    The gentleman, Mr Ramadan could not explain to us why a woman should be detained and tried in Sudan for just wearing a per of trousers if we are all not engulfed by ploitacal islam today.
    leebth.

    February 4, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Reply
  9. Jay Koenaefi Løgager

    The question is not a matter of Political Islam, Radical Islam, Extremist Islam, or Terrorists. It's a matter of Religious Freedom within Society.

    It's not a question of poor integration of stone aged Muslims, Male Chauvinist Muslims, Anti Feminist Female Oppressionist Muslims. It's a question of Fashion, & the right to wear whatever choice of clothing that you choose to where, no matter where you choose to go.

    I am a Muslim, as you probably have guessed. I come from a Muslim Family on my Mother's side of the family. Although I wasn't taught even how to offer prayer when I was small, I learned it myself later in life.

    Religious Freedom is the Constitutional Right in many Countries, to choose The Religion that you get to choose yourself & practice it in a way that doesn't break the Laws of The Country where you live. That I might not agree with Satanists, I don't waste my time to send out petitions to Forbid whatever outfit they so choose to wear.

    That Terrorism has, although not openly said, been coined as a part of, if not all of Islam, which is sad, hurtful, & offensive.

    If people really wanted to rally against a Major Threat to all of Society, in every since Nation on Earth. They should change the focus to Drugs. I have not read any statistics in this matter. But I'm willing to bet that the number of lives lost, lives damaged or destroyed, & lives wasted, far exceeds that of ANY Terrorist Plot.

    But just for the record, where does Opium come from? But I guess that the War on Terror is much more dire than that of Drugs, & that instead of solving the problem with Drugs, they'd rather Legalize the problem instead of solving it. But strangely enough, if THAT is the way of throwing the towel into the ring, why not go all the way, & Legalize Terrorism???

    February 4, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Reply
  10. Hamood

    Hi,
    why the west is afraid from a dress?
    nomatter what is this dress cover, it still a dress. no of my family using Niqap and I don't force my wife to do so but I can't force to not do so if she decide to wear it.

    February 4, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Reply
  11. Andy Arnold

    All muslims should be re-patriated if they are not prepared to abide by the Constitutional rules of their adopted country.They should go back from whence they came.

    Islamic countries would not allow immigrants to act in the way they themselves try to do in other countries.

    Only Australia has had the guts to come out and say what everyone else in the Western World would like to say but are too politically scared to say!!!

    February 4, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Reply
  12. mcstocker

    Why is it that Hirsi Ali and other muslims who renounce Islam cannot walk down the street without risking their lives?

    Why is it that anyone who says, or writes, or creates a work of art which muslims disapprove of, must live in fear for the rest of their lives?

    Why is it that I cannot commute to work in any major European city without running the risk of being murdered by a bomb planted by a muslim?

    February 4, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Reply
  13. danchinova Galina

    There is a good proverb "While in Rome do as Romans do". I'm strongly islamophobic and think that European countries should restirct immigration rules for Islamic countries and even expell those islamic people who violate law of Euripean countries. Why should they impose their religion on Europeans? We here in Buryatia (Republic near lake Baikal) are having more and more islamic people like azerbaijanians, uzbeks and so on. I'm not happy about it. Though I'm Buddhist and quite tolerent to different cultures and religions.Let them live in their own countries and practice their religion as much as they want. It is only my point of view.
    Dear Christian I'm so grateful to You for Your prafessionalism and your interesting interviews. I wish You good health and luck.
    With respect Danchinova Galina

    February 4, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Reply
  14. Adedamola Solesi

    I think the west should not be blamed for this new development. The radical tendecies of some naturalised and/or assimilated arabs and/or muslims ,if not quickly redefined and curbed would eventually lead to a historical regret in Europe and the West as a whole.
    Mark my word....Iam not a prophet of doom!

    Adedamola Solesi

    Lagos,Nigeria.

    February 4, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Reply
  15. Ryan

    I live in switzerland, and iam a muslim. I believe the problem is being inflated.
    If a minority of women in france wear the headveil and french politicians say theyre being forced to wear it, well at the same time some women actually choose to wear it they also are a minority. So isnt there a double standard there, I believe the choice should be left up to the women themselves. If a women is being forced, well then she can report it to the authorities. Instead of banning the headveil, why dont they pass a law that prohibits anyone from forcing anyone to wear a headveil.

    Regarding the security prospective, if someone wants to wear an explosive belt, i dont think a headveil will stop them. Anyone can wear a jacket and put explosives around him.

    I dont understand the hate, Yes i know that todays world there is alot of violence, but we should not fight back with opression. These people left their countries to come to europe because they were opressed. I dont think we should do the same.

    Muslims in general, are peace loving people. and jihad in islam means that if anyone occupies your land or kills your family. You have the right to defend yourself. Not kill innocent people.

    Those who are killing innocent people are not muslims! they have shamed the muslim religion and people.

    Since most of the bombers are poor people, i guess they cant fight back with traditional weapons, so explosives is the next thing.

    Everywhere in the world most noticeably in USA, people make up their micro communities. You have Chinatown, Soho, little italy all these are micro communities in usa, where people practice their cultures etc.
    Again, I believe the best way to solve this is to have a debate between french people and french muslims. To make people understand each other, and the politicians should make activities that educate the french more about other religions, not only islam. Because I believe there is a big stereotype that is being passed around. This can prove to be dangerous in the future for both muslims and christians and all religions.

    February 4, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Reply
  16. Lex B.

    I am a Dutch citizen and highschool teacher, and in my personal experience I have to admit that the burqa en nihaab indeed are charged with a negative political energie.
    There are muslim communities in Holland where women and girls indeed are repressed. For them it is hard to participate in the Dutch social environment, because the burqa puts a stamp on them. There are even areas in Amsterdam with schools where the kids hardly speek proper Dutch, and that is one of the hordes they have to overcome to participate in this society and not ending up in a dole in a cheap flat and never leaving those four walls. There are parts of Utrecht, another big city, were there are lot's of women not speaking Dutch at all, meanwhile the Dutch govermnent offers outstanding free facilities to learn to go to school and learn the language, but because of there oppressing husbands and religion they can't. They are completely Isolated. When there is an emergency they have to use there arms and hands to make clear what is going on.

    I think it is sad that some women have to wear the burqa because that puts a wall between me and my neighbour.

    Because of recent developements in terrorism but also the big, figuratively speaking, canyon between fundaments of communication behaviour and actually all that falls under etiquettes, people with burqa's are seen as fundamentalist and terrorist. There is a lot of hatered towards gay people and non muslim Indonesian people and everything else that is non-muslim in the Netherlands coming from Muslim people who can not adept to the society. Statistics from the government have shown that the muslim community has a major share in the crimes commited in the big cities. I see that the men are extreme dominant and don't adept to our society and are not an example for the muslim women.

    In my opinion the Islam is not an European religion, since it's fundaments and the fundaments of the imam are not compatible with our society, democracy and way of life.

    I would say that leaving the burqa and nihaab at home, will help especially kids overcome the borders the islam excerts on them and allows them the chance to grow in our society.

    February 4, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Reply
  17. Shirley

    If I lived in a islamic country I will not be allowed to ware a cross of Jesus or carry a Bible or practice my faith, so why on earth should we be subject to their ways. I say BAN THE BURQUE.

    February 4, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Reply
  18. abdelaziz

    hello,
    I am a Moroccan Muslim.I watched the program and I would like to say that women are free to cover their faces;it is in line with freedom and european values.I wonder why some countries ban their citizens from going to school due to th e hijab and ostratize them from public places due to the niqab.Mrs or miss Ali said Islam isn't a western religion as it was brought by Muslim immigantts.To follow this logic,christianity would not be a European religion either as Jesus was born in Palestine and had never set foot in the west.to go back to the issue of immigrations,the first Muslims didn't come on their own volition,they were taken by the French army in the seconf world war to defend France.they later stayed there and they are now french citizens.
    As Monsieur Gerin said,the niqab is the visible part of the iceberg.the real issue is a growing fear from a growing muslim population and new Muslim converts.If france wants really to stick to its motto,liberty,equalty and fraternity, she should let Muslims practise their religion and dress acordingly while the latter must be loyal to the country they live in
    Thank you.

    February 4, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Reply
  19. Ahsan Mufti

    Hi Dear Ms.Amanpour My name is Ahsan Mufti from Pakistan Please do add my comments in your program. So my question to all the European and Americans are that why you are making the Niqab or Burqa a political matter and if you are making it then please also ban the jews womens dress code who also covers themselves and differentiate them with others. I think if a person is following his or her religion and doest harm any other religion then one should let him or her. I mean why this is an issue when the War in Iraq is a failure and doesnt prove anything, why war in Afghanistan has no end, Why Pakistan is been dragged in War when this war is only americas war.
    I think you the western and european countries have no answer instead of harrassing muslims all over the world.
    US and European countries are very much greedy of getting the world assest and destroying muslims cultures all over the world. Please answer to this .......and include this in your show .

    February 4, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Reply
  20. IDRIS IDRIS

    THE EUROPEANS HAVE CONQURED THE WORLD, PERTITIONED COUTRIES, DIVIDED PEOPLE, SAW DISCODES
    DURING THE WAR OF THE CROSS, THEY DID THE MOST DEHUMANISING THINGS EVER DONE TO MANKIND. WORST THAN HITLER [ a european]
    THE WHOLE SAGA OF NIQAF IS FIGHTING ISLAM, A CIVILIZATION THAT CHALLENGES THE WEST. INSTEAD OF DOING IT INTELLECTUALLY, THE WEST RESORT TO THE USE OF FORCE [WAR]
    THE WAR IN IRAN, PAKISTAN, AFGHANISTAN, YEMEN ARE ALL WARS AGAINST ISLAM. WHEAN AN IDEAS TIME HAS COME , NO ONE CAN STOP IT. NO ONE CAN STOP ISLAM
    MY QUESTION IS : WHY THE WEST DO NOT HAVE THE BALLS TO EVEN DISCUSS ISRAELI WMDs? or their VIOLATIONS OF UN RESOLUTIONS SINCE 1950s, over a hundred such violations. NOR WOULD ANYONE including Ms AMANPOUR, PURSUE AN INDEPT JOURNALISTIC INVESTIGATIONS INTO ISRAELI ATROSITIES AGAINST PEOPLE WHO CANNOT DEPEND THEMSLVES.
    I DARE YOU

    February 4, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Reply
  21. Fahmida

    Dear Ms.Amanpour,
    I am a born muslim woman and I am glad that France has banned nikab and hopefully the burqa.
    Letting women wear a burqua is a problem because the ones who do are always trying to influence other muslim women to wear burqa. This creates a problem with other women who do not want to wear burqa but do not have the courage to say no or say anything against it. Burqa wearing brings other kinds of problems to muslim women. The ones who live in the west, they are better off than the women in poor countries. These women go to our villages in Bangladesh and try to influence our poor women to wear the veil and practise their version of Islam. That includes marrying girls the moment they reach puberty, restricts girls to participate in sports and cultural programs- such as singing and dancing, and restricts women's mobility to go to markets and other public places. Bangladesh has become more Islamic because of the influence of muslim Burqu clad Bangladeshi women getting empowered in the western countries use their money and power to restrict women's rights in poor countries. I am a development worker and I always visit the villages of Bangladesh and we really need Europe's help in suppressing this extreme manifestations of religion. It is the right time to take action before they spoil our work for women's empwowerment.

    February 4, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  22. nkengafac

    the view of islam being extremist is a propaganda that will one day cause more war than was intended as with the "axis" but if anyone does not believe islam is peaceful he should come to Cameroon. please Amanpour people like Ms Ayaan may not be muslim but from this show she does show traits of islamophobia, can we please stop bringing people who do not respect the views of others on the show cause i belive this show is meant to hear the views of everyone. thank you
    nkengafac ngu lionel

    February 4, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Reply
  23. Ahmed

    I listen to Tariq Ramadan and one thing cross my mind, his ideas are the same as those fundamentalist in the UK, which idea is to take over Europe systematically through any means. This is the fundamental concept of Islam, to take over the world in the name of God. Islam is not part of Europe, Tariq Ramadan has made it a part of European culture. Europe never invited this people, they choose to come to Europe for better life, now they want to impose their culture on Europe. This is unacceptable and i see it as a war against European culture. What ever means the radical Islams choose to imposed their presence systematically either through burqa or minarets construction in Europe, must be stop. God Bless Switzerland for taking lead, others should follow. What made us Europe is not Islamic values and Islamic values is not Europe. We give them good life, if they accept it, they should also accept our culture.

    February 4, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Reply
  24. matt

    Should we come up with a law that would forbid muslims to wear underwears because they could be possibly hiding explosives in it?....can we say that wearing jeans in Mid-eastern countries is a sign of political christianity..or a sign of western domination?...it's funny that there are nude beaches in France but there is exactly no law to ban that because that also degrades the French values, and make women less protected.

    February 4, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Reply
  25. Malik shahzad Iqbal

    I am Muslim, as i know from the teaching of islam"Islam is the religion of all the times". These problems are poping up because the muslim schalors are sleeping. There are two options in islam for complicated problem ( Ijma and Ijtahad). I think that muslim are not considring these options, and just keep on following the sterio type Islam and there regims or goverments are not guiding them cause in doing so they loose there power.
    Islam is very polite and gental religion. The religion was converted into strictnessby the Khulfa rashdeen the four disciples of profit mohammed Pbuh. And they were not wrong in doing so cause it was the necessity of that time, Islam was newly born religion and they needed strong leaders and goverment to expend it.
    Unfortunately the present regims are following the same rules.
    I think, Burqa and hijab was mandatory in those old days because women population was lesser then Men. Or rich or influential people had more women. Or women were just a commodity to be traded. If they would have just left the system like that Men just would have kill each other for women. And would have distroyed the whole social system.
    On the other hand women are more then or equal to men, in muslim countries now a days, they are having problem in getting marry, and result getting over age at home. This is only due to these expired rules wear burqa,don't shake hand with men, don't look at men stay home. Come on they are human being also with heart and mind. Elders please think.

    February 4, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Reply
  26. Fernando F.

    I'm an agnostic but I like to put myself in situations that happened a long time ago and ask questions like:
    Why did God made women beautiful and then ordered (or suggest) to them to cover their faces?
    That doesn't make sense to me. So I go to the next question: who could possible determine that women should be covered (face included)? And from everybody can see, men in general are jealous, so, if somebody close to the religious power was a jealous man because maybe he found out that his wife was cheating on him, maybe he decided to make the covering of the face a religious matter, and it was introduced in the Qoran as something God wanted.
    Also, making the women cover from head to toe gives me the impression that men are out of control if they see a women face. How weak are Muslim men that they can tolerate seeing women around them and have made this way of dressing part of their law in some countries?
    Shouldn't they be praying to God for strength to avoid being seduce by women? Why is a women problem walking around the city around men? A woman needs 4 witnesses when she is rape. How weak are men following the Qoran that they can't control themselves?

    February 4, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Reply
  27. valentine patrick travers

    if the muslims who live in the west want to mantaine there traditional dress there is nothing stopping them returning to there own country, if they require to remain in there chosen european destination they should adapt to that countries mode of dress. to me as a man age 73 they look terrifying so to children they must appear horrendous, the children also watch tv and the news and dont understand how a women in this type of dress can explode a bomb and kill fellow men women and children.which gods law is this?then ,these people wonder why they are resented, hirsi ali said it all, she said what people think certainly in my circle of friends.

    February 4, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Reply
  28. kazeem ogunbambi

    Wearing of niqab or burqua has to do with the level of individual's belief. A lady might as well decided to use d hijab without wearing niqab however Islam is a religion of peace and also preaches peace in its entirety. Islam preaches peaceful co-existence among individuals and Nation. Whoever that engages in the act of terrrorism is doing it outside the doctrine of Islam. Islam is not a religion of terrorism and does not condone terrorism in any form. It condemn terrorism in all ramifications.

    February 4, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Reply
  29. Tasneem

    Ereic, your argument that women wearing Burqas "may be hiding something dangerous so should remove it" doesn't hang. Haven't terrorists hidden explosives in their underwear in the past? Does this mean we should walk around without our underwear "for public safety"??

    I think there's a fear of the unknown here. Muslim women wearing burqas in Europe are a very small minority. Perhaps if there were more, not less, of them in Europe non-Muslims would become more comfortable with them as they would experience their harmlessness more. If one thinks the burqah harms the lady wearing it, they should befriend a burqah wearer and persuade her to remove it ... not grab it off her head!!!

    February 4, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Reply
  30. jebe

    Pls I just want to point out few mistakes audience do make firstly I don't care wot europe says about the veiling or not.if anybody says there is no where in the Quran that says women should veil has deeply falling in an enormous error. Secondly the issue of gun,drugs and all other stuffs like dat,the veil can't be an excuse for carrying them though it has been going on before the veil came in.but we should all know ISLAM is an european religion.

    February 4, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Reply
  31. James Orrell (Tariq Nur Muhammedi)

    As a recent convert to Islam here in the US, I can understand my fellow Muslims wishing and choosing to wear the burqa, etc. As a child brought up in post-Enlightenment ideas, I believe Muslims should have the right to dress how they choose. I think, however, the REAL great fear here, both in US and Euro, is that next will be a push for implementation of Shariah law by Muslim communities in the West. thus establishing a state within a state. THAT is what really concerns opponents, and myself included. I practice my new religion, but I appreciate and desire to see my traditional constitutional rights maintained. I don't believe many Muslims, who originate from countries w/o those rights, truly understand their importance, and just seek to see a re-creation of their former cultures in their new environments. The US and Europe have done a poor job educating Muslims to their new cultures' rights and responsibilities.

    February 4, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  32. Anne Gyger

    That Muslim women must cover up their heads insinuates that all Muslim
    men are sex maniacs As they joke in some Muslim countries, "our men don't need Viagra, all they have to do is look at a women's hair". What about women when they look at an attractive man?The men don't cover up their heads or faces.

    February 4, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  33. Nurudeen Ibrahim

    All thanks is to Allah Who has made His accepted and confirmed religion clear and straight enough, even to the "empty brains". I challenge everyone to pick up the references available to them (quran and hadith) and read as clear as possible to understand the simplicity of Islam and the undunted intentions of protecting the right of women, not only in Islam but all kind of religion.
    Where will be the freedom if we now restrict women from excercising their religoius right.
    Suicide bombers, child-traffickers, drug dealers and all sorts of vises are NOT teachings of Islam. We must go back to the " BASICS OF ISLAM" to understand the guidiance of our creator,ALLAH.

    Nurudeen Ibrahim
    Lagos
    Nigeria

    February 4, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Reply
  34. matt

    We never liked Taliban in Afghanistan "forcing" women to wear burqa and the whole world turned out to be against them including I..and I don't see any difference between Sarkozy and Taliban when it comes to forcing women..because the French government is going to be doing the exact opposite..they will be "forcing" women not to wear Burqa...the point to be noted here is that in terms of women's values, modesty, and protection the rule of so called Islamic Extremists (Taliban) Weigh's more than Sarkozy's rule...

    February 4, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Reply
  35. khumbu

    let us face the fact, muslims are something else. i for one scared to death of them and their jihad, burqa, and all that jazz . and really what about assimilating, adapting, and respecting somebody's home, if you can't, really, go somewhere where you can have peace and please don't kill us...

    February 4, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Reply
  36. SAAD

    Hi,
    By banning burqa France itself is diverting away from its fundamental goals of civil liberty and freedom of life style.

    February 4, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Reply
  37. Andy Arnold

    Danchinova Galina and Shirley..

    You have it in a nutshell,,I agree completely....well said!

    February 4, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Reply
  38. Dave

    France has too many Muslims. If France does not lay down the law, these Muslims will try to even force Sharia and all that other stone age, backwards forms of Taliban thinking on French citizens. We must support France to kick out the Taliban from French soil and all decent Europeans must understand that Saudi Arabia, not just Osama bi laden is a threat to the entire world with their funding of terrorist organizations with all the money we give them for their oil. If Muslims are so happy to cover their women from head to toe, well go to Afganistan, Saudi etc..I am sure they will love you there. Outside of those countries, Muslims are seen as terrorists, you wear all of this head and face covering stuff, guess what, everybody at the international airport is thinking, OH MY GOD!! A terrorist! I pray that fool who wants to blow himself up for his god does not get on my same plane! This is what everybody is thinking. About Israel, that is another stupid mess, another stupid headache! Would I like Ms. Amanpour to interview baby killers from the Israeli army?? Sure, that is another country with too much blood on its hands, just like Iran. These 2 countries are just made for each other. By the way, the USA should have invaded Saudi, where most of the 9/11 terrorists came from and not poor Iraq.

    February 4, 2010 at 11:05 pm | Reply
  39. Eric Pollock

    It is more of a security concern than anything else.

    February 5, 2010 at 1:24 am | Reply
  40. linda

    Your all too funny. I am a muslim American who wears Niquab. I hear people say we should go back to where we came from lol. i am from Chicago! Where should I go? I am also a 20 year vet in the US military. i have given a better part of my life for the freedom of wearing my niquab. I am loyal to my country and tired of people feeling so free to spew insults due to their own ingnorance about Islam.

    February 5, 2010 at 1:46 am | Reply
  41. sam baik

    Islam presents a world view that is at odds with the underlying Christian world view upon which much of European and Western culture is based. It's easy to notice that countries that once were not Islamic and have become mostly Islamic have now by law and force become incredibly intolerant and hostile to other religions in their countries. Even though Islam prospered through the respect and equality afforded them by other religions, once they have obtained power they deny it outright to others. Not only is this hypocritical but downright dangerous. If they want to be treated with dignity, respect, and equality then they must be willing to do the same for other religions. If they do not tolerate other religions to evangelize to convert people from Islam then they should afford the same respect to other religions...but they do not. Once they obtain power, restrictive legislation and enforcement of other religions and differing points of view is the norm and not the exception. A such, true democracy has no place in a country where Islam is allowed to rule, and indicates that Islam is intrinsically opposed to the basic tenets of Western democracy. This is the grave threat that Islam presents to a democratic Global Society. It simply will not afford equal dignity and respect to differing points of view once it obtains power.

    February 5, 2010 at 3:21 am | Reply
  42. maya

    I will speak of my personal experience: I am a muslim, not practicing, very open, wearing shorts and sleeveless T.Shirts. Since I came to Switzerland to continue my studies and have a master degree, I have been subject to discrimination. Just because I do not drink alcohol and I declare I am muslim, I must defend myself as a suspect of an obscene crime. I wrongly assumed that educated people won't fall in the narrow mindedness of prejudice-trap. From where did this irrational intolerance emerge?! If I, the liberal, felt this engulfing wave of hatred, what would a veiled woman suffer from and be subject to? What would be her reaction for cornering her in such way?
    I, hereby, call for the quality of decency when dealing with a human being who does not mirror your ideas but behave respectfully and never did s/he belittled you.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:05 am | Reply
  43. Erik B.

    The numbers that Ms. Amanpour quoted @6:40 worries me. "49% of Moslems in France feel a sense of local belonging" Is that supposed to make us feel better? The majority feels no sense of local belonging?

    And the numbers also cover the Moslems that think, yes, we love France, France is our homeland and that's why we want to have Sharia here. And the ones, like Ramadan that says: I am a European, and Islam is a European thing, so let me practice Sharia like the good European I am.

    And about the burka: France is constitutionally secular, and they don't want to ban burkas, they want to drive religious symbols out of public spaces like schools, hospitals and courtrooms. You are perfectly free to wear your burka in the streets.

    Somebody mentioned respect, a word that has been heard a lot in connection to Islam in my country. (Denmark) As an atheist, I could not muster an ounce of respect for your childish superstitions if you offered me a billion dollars cash. And faking respect would be treason against everything that's great about Europe and Western civilisation: mocking religion is the cornerstone of freedom of speech, it's where it starts and ends. If we have to 'respect' any oddball and totally unsupported cosmological hypothesis , we'd have to 'respect' anything.

    And freedom of speech, by the way, is a precondition for the freedom of religious confession. If Moslems demand that their holy nonsense don't be offended, I'll demand that my beliefs not be offended either, and as an enlightened and rational person, I find the Koran, the Hadiths and the prophet Mohammed deeply offensive because they are mocking everything I believe and hold dear.

    See where that would end? If you want to practise Islam, you'll have to accept that Islam is open to mockery. That goes for Christians and for the Bible as well of course, but Christians, at least here in Denmark, have learned to live with freedom of speech, they don't assassinate people for blaspheming, they don't demand we 'respect' the opinions of their invisible friends.

    Tolerance, yes. Any day. But respect? Respect has to be earned.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:41 am | Reply
  44. Erik B.

    @Maya
    I suspect you are exaggerating. Were you really "engulfed in waves of hatred" for not drinking alcohol? I find that hard to believe. In my experience, Moslems that makes an effort to conform to European norms, are treated with a effusive gratitude.

    Maybe you could tell us how these "waves of hatred" were actually manifested.

    February 5, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Reply
  45. Matthew

    Europe the world has looked to you for leadership for so long. Please do not fail us now.

    February 5, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Reply
  46. Salisu Umar, Nigeria

    Subhanallah ! It's mind-boggling how people got this all twisted out of proportion. For the record: To those who say Islam isn't European I'd like them to know that Christianity isn't European as well. Jesus (pbuh) wasn't born there nor did he ever set foot there. I think Muslims in France should be left to dress the way they want,and that isn't violating French laws especially as the constitution of France guarantees freedom of religion. And the western gang up against Islam ...well, I'd tell 'em this: can you stop the rise of the sun from the East ?

    February 5, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Reply
  47. maya

    To Erik B: I spent the first year of my master degree crying. Trust me when I say waves of hatred: rejection & confrontation in class. But this year (my second one), everything seems extremely funny to me. I am rejected in my country of origin for being liberal i.e not conforming with the rest and rejected in Switzerland for not hanging out with colleagues at nightclubs i.e not conforming with the rest too!
    Any way, I sincerely believe that all this universe is one solid unit. Why to divide between them and us ; X v.s Y?
    What really made the difference for me is that I searched for answers inside my inner being and took the decision to be happy by living through my imagination. I envisage Peace, Love & Smiles for all.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Reply
  48. priya bery

    I agree with ryan, but also think our ideas are utopian. The need for respecting all religons and their way of dressing. Being a Sikh, i can understand what majority of the Muslims feel. Having your religon used by a select few for their ulterior motives...it is painful. We need to spend our energy fighting terrorists and not on banning hijab, burkhas and turbans.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Reply
  49. Mary

    I am waiting patiently for the arrival of Islam's Martin Luther, who hopefully will be a woman.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Reply
  50. Vince

    Christiane, I really fail to understand both your statistics and your conclusions. When you ask Muslims in Europe whether they feel integrated, do you really expect them to say they aren't? And even when they do, like in Germany with a miserable 29 % of "yes", which you quoted, you come to the conclusion that there is no integration problem!!!

    By the way, we, in Europe, have heard a lot of Tariq Ramadan saying that Muslims should not be discriminated (which I do not contest in the least), yet I never heard him condemn the killings of Christians in Egypt, his home country, by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a movement founded by his grandfather!!! To say that I do not trust him much is a euphemism.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:04 pm | Reply
  51. Sara from Algeria

    I don't see that wearing the Hijab or burqaa has any thing to do with the national identity of any country, because if it does, it would pose the same problem for other immigrants who like to keep wearing their original (traditionnal) clothing,,, i'm a muslim and i started wearing the Hijab (veil) 5 years ago when i became 17, and i don't feel that any thing has changed in my life, i still the same person with same personality and the same character, and because it was my choise to wear the veil, noone has the right to prevent me from wearing it anywahere in the world, even my parents, because it's my body and it's only mine,,
    besides, what about the real Europeans who converted to Islam, will their identity change by changing their believe?!!! in fact, the whole subject is desparit and rediculous, because Islam is a religion and not a race, and the real subject is not about "Islam affecting the national identity" but about "the increasing of Islam over Christianity and other religions", because the statistics prouve that people started converting to Islam after the 9/11 more than before, and it still increasing everyday until now,,
    Another thing, Islam orders women to dress up modestly by covring their hear, arms and legs and to cover the shape of their body,, and there's no Quranic verse or prophet's speech talking were the Burqaa is imposed,, so stop relying it to Islam
    N.B.: i want to clearify something here to people who were saying that Islam is not tolerant and it supports murder: "people who r claming that they're muslims and that they're killing the others because of their infidelity and that God told them to do so, believe me they're not practicing Islam, but they r practicing their extrimisme, because in islam we believe that if u kill an innoncent human or animal, u go to hell,, my country has also suffered from this terrorism and the victims were also muslims from women children and old men,,,so these criminals do not represent Islam and they are no different from the Cu Clux Clan who also used to kill African American people pretending that God was ordering them to do so
    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,PEACE and LOVE :)

    February 5, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Reply
  52. Sara from Algeria

    @Anne Gyger
    Come on!! don't tell me that u still don't understand why we wear the Hijab!! alright,, i'll explain it to you : "at first, the hijab is not just about covering the hair, it's also about covering the shape and the curves of ur body,,, and the reason for which we dress up modestly is not that the men here can't controle their instincts as u said,, because if u don't know, not all the muslim women in muslim countries r wearing the Hijab,, the reason my dear is: that every man on this earth does realy get sexualy provoked by seeing a woman showing her curves and the less wouvement he can do is to stare at her,, and because in Islam, God wanted for women to be treated like precious pearls that not everyone has the right to touch them and enjoy them,,, while in the west, women (not all of them) feel proud of sleeping with a man from the first sexual attraction, which i consider in my opinion "a big himuliation for women", because this is exactly the altitude that we should fight to free women,, with this altitude we're going 100 steps behind in history, when women were only looked at as a sexual attempt and a tool for man to have children

    and the reason for which having sex before mariage is prevented is in fact to protect the children in the first place, by allowing them to know who's the father, and in case if one of the parents would have other children and if these children would meet without knowing about each others,,

    And in the end it's all about living in a more healthy anvironement
    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, PEACE and LOVE :)

    February 5, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Reply
  53. Saleyha Ahsan

    Freedom and choice swings both ways. If a woman is banned from wearing what she is choosing to wear, then is that not a violation of her human rights? Additionally if she is forced to wear something against her will, that is also a violation-but why is this being viewed as a one way street?

    February 6, 2010 at 1:32 am | Reply
  54. Miquel

    Femi makes the following statement "Islam does not deprive women of their rights rather it protects and empowers them" and I'd be quite interested to know about the kind of empowerement is talking about. I can see that in all forums there are many muslims appealing to the democratic rights we enjoy in the western world but, I have my serious doubts that they are active at all in muslim countries in fighting for the kind of freedoms they enjoy here. In Spain, when the wave of inmigrants from the Magreb started, one could see that the first women to arrive were unveiled but, when larger numbers arrived, with their Imans they became "veiled" isn't that "forcing"?

    February 6, 2010 at 2:02 am | Reply
  55. Eric PAUL

    I am French and I believe that people from other cultures must be treated well. Discrimination in work, housing, etc. cannot be tolerated. On the other side, I believe it is essential that people who come here to have a better life (or whose parents immigrated) integrate into French society and therefore respect a number of rules, principles and ideas without which living together would become impossible. It happens that in France, state and religion have been separate since 1905. Which means that the state allows total religious freedom but doesn't accept any religious interference in secular issues. Catholics and others accept those rules. The problem is that a growing number of muslims don't and put themselves in a sort of outcast situation and moan all the time that they are persecuted, etc. Their constant demands for special rules create exasperation making them the first victims of their obstinacy.
    I also want to point out that there is no such thing as a unified muslim community. Lots of people of muslim origin are well integrated, especially women who appreciate the chance they have to live in a society in which they can live freely.
    As for Islam, I believe it must conform to French laws. The idea that religious rules are above the rules of the state is ludicrous and dangerous. Islam has a problem with democracy, freedom and human rights in general. The idea that freedom should mean acceptance of the veil, burqa, and other antique customs makes no sense. Freedom doesn't mean that we accept anything. Freedom in a democracy is a set of precise values and those values exclude what is seen as going against those values. For example, and this is a difference with the US, any sort of apology of nazi ideas is illegal all over Europe.
    Is Islam compatible with European style democracy? It still has to be proven.

    February 6, 2010 at 4:02 am | Reply
  56. Theresa from Denmark

    It is not a matter of religion, it is a matter of integrating and showing the respect to ´the country you choose to live in. I myelf is against Burqaa or Hijab, I would really like to see the face of the person which I´m talking too. I couldnt imagine a covered face in daycare center I personally, if Im a child looking on an educator in a kindergarten, I´m going to be scared and feeling uncertain because I can`t see that beautiful face under the burqaa or Hijab. There`s no problem with wearing a veil on their head but please don´t cover the whole body because you cant even play with a child. I am not against muslims but they have to integrate in the country they have chosen to live in.

    February 6, 2010 at 9:58 am | Reply
  57. bayo

    why should the muslims be angered by the law against wearing of burqa?This laws only existed in Europe and not in saudi arabia or any muslim countries.If they the muslims are not contempted with it,they can as well go back to wherever they are coming from.Afterall, nobody asked or force them to come.In the sick bed of Mohammed he charged his followers not to allow any other religion inside saudi Arabia and thats what is obtained their up to now.How many churches can operate freely inside saudi?None.
    It is very certain that the muslims have one course and one direction.
    it is to rule the world with their religion,and in practical sense that will nnot happen.
    Bayo
    .

    February 6, 2010 at 10:10 am | Reply
  58. charlly

    This is the right time that the muslim leaders in the entire world should come out to proof to the whole world that Islam is a religious of peace.
    They can not keep queit and defending Islam when some of their people are kiling innocent people and and even kiling themselves.
    There is a missed up about Islamic religion because those who
    killing innocent people are doing so in the name of Allah and Jihad war.
    What i am saying is that this is the right time the muslim leaders have to defend the used of Jihad and what it means and they have to call all their followers to order in other for peace to reign in the entire world.
    This is the right time the moderate Islam and the learned should come out boudly to let those with this wrong believes to actual see the light of their religious.
    This problem have to be solve now before it is too late because if some people dont mind killing not only peoples from other religious but same people that they shared the same believe ,i think this globe is running into absolutely danger in the next few years.

    February 6, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  59. Helena

    People should stop asking why do women want to wear the hijab and ask themselves, in what does the hijab disturbs me.

    Women prostitution, women trafficking...no one talks about it here? This is the real women oppression...the question of the hijab is only a political attempt to get more votes from the extreme right....

    it encourages hatred and division....nothing good has come from this debate.

    All is know is that if Mike is allowed to wear piercings, if Ben is allowed to wear a Kippa, if Marie is allowed to cover her head as a nun...etc I don't see why a woman can't wear if she wants to...the same way another woman can wear a bikini if she wants to....
    THIS is real freedom.

    as to thos who says....God wouldn't tell women to wear hijab...blabla...it's not really the pb. No matter what the divine word is...everyone has their own interpretation of it...but that's ok as long as it doesn't restrict others freedom.
    Muslims know that...some wear hijab, some not. The Quran only says dress modestly....then it's up to you to choose what modest mean. Some women feel comfortable with the hijab then so be it...

    The ban on hijab is in itself an oppresion..because it is imposed. At least, Islam leaves the choice.

    If you want to fight women oppresion then EDUCATION is the Key not forcing women to take off a piece of cloth from their head because it scares us...com'on.

    February 6, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Reply
  60. Helena

    This is only asking for trouble and feeding extremists with even more reasons to fight...
    The west say they want freedom for everyone but it's just hypocrisy....As long as you look like a westerner.

    Funny Nuns in the Middle East haven't been asked to uncover...

    February 6, 2010 at 6:05 pm | Reply
  61. bardbart

    maya,what you encountered was xenophobia. it exists everywhere. as to source of irrational intolerance you're askin' the age old question: where does evil come from? for now lets deal with that question by sayin' we've made a hell out of heaven and continue to do so daily. as to bannin' of burqas it's straight up cultural xenophobia. not only can't they practice what they preach apparently they've forgotten they do preach against xenophobia in all its forms. or else they've forgotten what it means.
    eric b. is a good example of a xenophobe. he distorted your experience by focusin' on non use of alcohol and leavin' out fact you're muslim thereby trivialisin' it. he could redeem himself and apologise. we'll see. anyway maya you forgive people like that: forgiveness is the philosophers stone and great for the imagination. as is the persian poet runi. here's a few lines from w.b.yeats about this sad old world:
    come away o human child
    to the waters and the wild
    with a faery hand in hand
    for this world's more full of weeping
    than you can understand

    keep spreadin' peace, love and smiles and they're comin' back to you. remember it ain't easy bein' easy.

    February 7, 2010 at 1:59 am | Reply
  62. surprised

    Dear Erik B. I gasped as I saw that you used the phrase I quotes thrice today:

    "Tolerance, yes. Any day. But respect? Respect has to be earned."

    Thank you.

    February 7, 2010 at 3:31 am | Reply
  63. Druid

    Good afternoon,
    My own experience having lived in islamic countries is the most liberal or open minded fall behind the fanatics very easily – all be it as a result of the fear we all feel. Thus the argument the fanatics are a very small minority doesn't hold up as their numbers can expand massively at almost no notice. Another argument that doesn't stand up to scrutiny is that all islamic women wish to wear the various levels of covers. When the initial laws were passed and protested in France – people I knew told me they protested because they were pressured to do so by their community; that their preference was not to wear a cover that they could blend into French society.

    There are a couple of conclusions I've drawn over the years: Islam will always enter into the political sphere b) Islam is intolerant of other political or religious systems c) Islam hasn't curtailed expansion through violence while other religions have matured past a violent adolescence – islam continues to include violence as an integral concept in their belief system and finally – most developed societies have moved towards a secular governance as a means to forge respect for all belief systems through separating the role of government and various religions.

    February 7, 2010 at 9:11 am | Reply
  64. Trina Lorenzo Molo

    I think Europe's reaction to Muslims is reminiscent of Europe's reaction to Jews in the years before World War II. For a country (France) that prides itself in freedom and the Enlightenment ideals, this seems to be a big puzzle. Makes me wonder how this will all turn out–and if it will have the same end as the problem Europe once dubbed as the "Jewish problem." Now, it's the "Muslim problem." Will history repeat itself?

    February 7, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Reply
  65. Femi

    Miquel, for the record, Femi is a Christian and is not trying to support either the burqa or the niqab. And yes, the Quran contains laws which protect and empower women.

    When the Quran mentions purdah it refers equally to men and women. Purdah advocates modesty in dressing and behaviour, requiring men to lower their gaze and not to stare at women (an instruction also found in the bible). If the woman is wearing a burqa with a niqab what would be the point? The hijab on the other hand makes sense in the enforcement of purdah. The burqa and niqab are pre Islamic relics of Arabic culture, these have nothing to do with Islam, they just happen to originate from the same area from which Islam originates, where a veil has a real function of keeping out sand and dust (even the men wear it), they are not a requirement of Islam and as a result "freedom of worship" cannot be used as a defence for either of them.

    I've heard this "we have a right to wear what we want" excuse, it doesn't hold water. Forget terrorism for a second, some women have tried to pass themselves off as other people in banks to cash forged cheques hiding behind a veil, there is a real day to day security issue here. Wearing a cross or hijab on the other hand might offend some but does not pose a security risk

    The "we don't feel safe and modest otherwise" argument also falls flat. In some less developed African communities women don't feel they belong without genital mutilation, that doesn't make it right.

    So please let us all get over it and get rid of a tradition which has no place in Islam. The Quran has never required the burqa or the niqab, it is purely cultural and that being the case, when in Rome...

    February 7, 2010 at 7:29 pm | Reply
  66. maya

    To Bardbart: Appreciating the sweetness of your reply.

    February 7, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Reply
  67. Tarek Fatah

    Shame on Amanpour for being such an apologist for Islamism.

    What she is doing is disgraceful; it almost seems she is relishing the idea of Muslim women suffering subjugation and undermining those Muslims like Naser Khedar who seek to rectify this misogyny. If she is so fascinated by Sharia law, burqa and the Islamists, why does she not choose to live in Iran instead of lecturing us Muslims to endure the indignities she refuses to endure herself.

    February 8, 2010 at 2:17 am | Reply
  68. emmy

    Loved loved the "country singer" Billy on Dear mr. Gorbechav!!what a nice light touch!!
    thank you it provieded creat balance!!

    February 8, 2010 at 4:25 am | Reply
  69. Tarek

    christiane, your guest tarek is not reasonable he is not righr this is a critical issue nun muslim will not understand easy as islam is a very complicated issue and muslim's are not the same and don't have the same believes, i'm muslim and i hate veiled women and i see that the precaution france is taking is right, if muslims in france does not like it why stay thier why don't they go to their countries??
    even in the muslim worled their is a big problem with muslims when you disagree with some one or have your own believes.
    i don't feel freedom in my own country because of islam while when i'm in a visit to the uk i feel this freedom!!

    February 8, 2010 at 11:49 am | Reply
  70. Tarek

    ahmed that is exactly what i want to say bless you, and may i was raised in the uk never felt something like what you are saying i do drink but i don't eat pork all i had was respect even tho i don't eat pork

    February 8, 2010 at 11:59 am | Reply
  71. Sara from Algeria

    @ bayo
    where did u got that about the prophet "Muhammed" not allowing other religions into saudi Arabia?! well, let me tell u an interresting story about this: one day the prophet "Muhammad" received some christian people in his mosque, and when the christian men wanted to pray (they prayer) some of his companions tried to prevent them from praying in the mosque, but "Muhammad" stopped them (his companions) and insisted for those christians to pray normally in his mosque ,,, another one is about his having a jewish neighbour who used to mistreat him=muhammad everyday, but when that jewish man got sick one day, the prophet "Muhammad" was the first who visited him.. and let me tell u one last thing: the world had changed a lot since "Muhammad's" period , but it's not his fault

    February 16, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Reply
  72. Fernando F.

    Sara, those 2 stories are amazing. Nice to read about that. Misconceptions are everywhere. Even good people are portrait as bad, which is a human condition. I'm sure bad things can be said about Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and even Jesus. Be sure I'm going to share your stories with my friends.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Reply
  73. Ameer Raschid

    Despite the level of advancement currently seen in Europe, there have been many lives lost from two world wars and the genocide of the Jews and other races. This has been due to nationalism fanned by a racist superiority complex that religion has had no effect.
    After so many years Europe is getting its act together but still suffers from some internal conflict based on language or race as with the Basque terrorist activity. European values have been restricted to freedom of the individual to do what he pleases rather than being in harmony with society.
    The desire of assimilation rather than integration shows the chauvinistic nature of the European who has always tried to impose his will on underdeveloped countries and exploit their natural resources. They tried to make the natives speak the language of the colonizer and imitate the culture and abandon their own so that they were willing slaves. Europe allowed immigration without imposing any conditions in order to have economic development but now that they do not need more immigration, they are uncomfortable with the customs of Muslims and come up with excuses to find a way to get them to return to their home country. The concept of pluralism is unknown in Europe as they have always persecuted those who are different. If you do not want Muslims to have the freedom to live according to the standards of Islam, you better deport them and expose your racism and hatred. If you fear being overrun and your culture polluted give Muslims enough money to make it worthwhile to start up in their own countries. Street and toilet cleaners and other menial jobs will open up for some of your unemployed. Some of the young Muslims may elect to stay behind and hide their culture from the majority master race and could be tolerated. Democracy, liberty, equality and fraternity are becoming empty slogans. Religious hatred is increasing and Europeans may stoke up the ovens and gas chambers to have the final solution they want. They probably will resort to stoking up enough hatred so that the killing can be done in the streets.
    In the US there is more freedom for religion and cultural differences although fanaticism and Islamophobia is increasing fanned by Christian fundamentalists and by Jewish groups and lobbies that buy votes with money and threats and who fear the growing number of Muslims that can neutralize the influence they have over US foreign policy that continues blind support for Israel even when it adds to the anti-Americanism in the Muslim world.

    March 8, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Reply
  74. Paul Ramphal

    I was an immigrant from the West Indies to Canada in the 1960's. I firmly believe that it is not the responsibility of the accepting country to adapt to the immigrant, but rather the immigrant has the responsibility to adapt to the new country. If the old country and all of its habits were so wonderful, why do people leave and come to Canada, USA, Europe etc? In fact, these countries have bent backwards trying to help immigrants feel comfortable, but there are limits to how much they should bend. The hijab and the burkha are security risks, pure and simple, and should not be allowed. If that is too much for some people, they can always go back to their original countries and wear whatever they like.

    March 30, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Reply
  75. Paul

    Is this an issue to discuss in this troubled world, if the women like to wear the hijab, who are we to say otherwise. Its a free world stop this nonsense and concentrate on the real problem in the world, war , hunger and other important issues, this discussion is a non starter and westen countries is not the right one to judge anyone, look at ourselves, word speak louder then words.

    March 30, 2010 at 7:36 pm | Reply
  76. lucious Harris

    I am not sure how the moslem countries manage with hijaab. still it says its possible and I don't believe that is an issue to talk about. terror.attacks could be even done with out veil.so the veil should not be the only thing or the first thing to point when talking about terror attacks.

    security should find a way to solve this, like how the world find out to scan people for metals....if we believe public kissing and or other kind of sexual act on public is a right of their own, why don't some one who wanna wear the hijaab can go out ? It should be their own right of a community.

    March 30, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Reply
  77. Anna

    Hi,
    I found the discussion in the program and the ensuing comments very educative for me. I am not a Moslem but I deeply admire the contribution of Islam throughout t history. I agree that the veil issue is blown out of proportion but I believe that underlining it there is a clash of visions of the world from two different perspectives. Moreover I think that Moslem who freely choose to live in an open society should be able to reconcile their private views (not only religious) with the separation of the state from religion, that is, laicity of the public political sphere. For example, when a non Moslem woman goes to live in Saudi Arabia she cannot drive and has to wear the local garb. In public functions she cannot shake hands with men because this goes against the local prevailing views. That is true also in Iran and other countries that spouse this mores. I accept that if I go to these places. I would expect the same acceptance of democratic mores from Moslem who come to live in open societies where Islam is one of many others religious and cultural traditions that contribute to a plural world.
    Tx.

    March 30, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Reply
  78. Omar

    I'm a half-Lebanese Muslim based in Nigeria, but I do not understand how the burqa came up. It isn't in the Qur'an, I think, or even practiced by whom the Qur'an implicitly labelled as the first Muslims, the Israelites. (Yes, you read it well. But, we call the Israelites "Banu Isra'Il", or "Children of Israel/Isaac".) Just the normal hair scarf was worn by the two Semitic peoples since ancient times. I think the burqa is the evolved version of the gold masks women wore in the old days, and I think that that's even made for beauty or graceful reasons, hence cultural and not Islamic. To me, even Islamically, the burqa is anti-social, and could lead to bad interactions, even necessary ones, betweem its wearer and other people.

    I know some Muslims who do not even like the vail or the burqa, while some would disagree with my view. But, that's just it. Among the world's 1.57 billion Muslims, we are divided in opinion, but also culture and geography... like the world's Christians. This is also why you may hear Muslims in Asia and the western world calling for the "Ummah", a type of Islamic brotherhood or union, a big fear to non-Muslims.

    But seriously, is Ms. Ali serious? She completely derailed the whole topic, simultaneously making one of the guests look like an idiot. And when she listed countries like Iran as her examples of extremist, or political-Islam, nations, I hoped she realized how very unreligious the people were before the toppling of the Shar, hence leading to the hunger by many to create an Islamic Republic out of such countries. Even an Iranian-made comic novel, "Persepolis", illustrated these natures of Iranians. Man, no wonder nobody one liked Ms. Ali's atitude when she was in Europe!

    March 30, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Reply
  79. Omar Mohyin Kutty

    Hirsi Ali,'s arguments are baseless; Not only Muslims, anyone can stuff explosives into their underwear and take flights to kill innocent people nor jihad is a major concept in Islam that enables terrorists to say that God is telling them to kill. what matters is not the dress but belief and faith. History will repeat! With this partial campaign & ban will act as a catalyst in Muslims fait and in few year time a super majority of Muslims will wear burqa and niqab. In conclusion a perticular religion has nothing to do with dress. It is human right and a freedom to choose onces will and wish.

    March 30, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Reply
  80. Anna

    PS: I completely agree with Mr. James Orrell (Tariq Nur Muhammedi)
    comments.

    March 30, 2010 at 7:56 pm | Reply
  81. lala

    i totally agree with Shirley's post. muslims migrating to i.e. EU should respect the culture and values of that country. I have the exact same thing in mind, if I go to islamic country, I can't dress the way I dress in EU and I can't openly practice my religion and wear cross of Jesus Christ. Fair enough. And yes, i must say that seeing women dressed in burqa's are scary.

    i'm originally from the philippines but have been living in Switzerland for a year now.

    i say ban the burqa too.

    March 30, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Reply
  82. sityak

    Ameer Raschid, I can't hardly believe and I am very very sad that you are so ignorant.

    March 30, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Reply
  83. Faisal

    Your lady guest, surely needs to take some history lessons. What is happening to all the basic Human Rights talk ? Why not make it a law to ban cars on the road since they take thousands of lives every year and so on. In this age of globalization, we should be working towards a peaceful coexistence rather than wasting our time on non issues just for the sake of it. Mutual respect is the key, do not undermine the contributions of the Muslims towards the modern social outlook. Our actions should show our sincerity towards betterment of the people, not just political point scoring.

    March 30, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Reply
  84. Amin

    Burkhas or veils are part of an ancient tradition among country folks. It is not an Islamic costume. If one travels to the various muslim lands from Indonesia to Nigeria, you will notice different dress codes and fashions. It is no wonder that this aspect of diversity that exist in muslim completely ignored and stereotyped by the media in the west and than over reacted by politicians to bring about legislation to curb a handful of people wearing this medievel costume. Underneath all this is anti Islam. This form of racism has been replaced by the historical racism of colour as more people of colour assimilate in the west culture and society. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, is such an example. She has thrown the baby with the bathwater and feels she is a european and even cosying up to the extreme right wing.

    March 30, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Reply
  85. ali ihsan

    I am a Muslim and living in an Islamic country. I think the main issue in such discussions to understand truly what the main features of the answerer are. Actually the people in the U.S and in the Europe are in the right for not feeling themselves in security due to some terrorist attacks made in England, Spain, U.S etc. The people who can understand best these Western Countries people are Muslims because of the events from which Muslims suffered so much in Bosnia, in Palestine, in the past in exploited countries such as Libya, Algeria so on. In these events Muslims have lost their families like people who experienced terrorism in the U.S, moreover not only families, anything of them. and they had got no power which is necessary to protect themselves from the militants and their awaited help that they wanted while their families were being killed was sent after their families were killed. on the other hand today western countries has got the power for protecting themselves.
    As a matter of fact, I am so much sad because of these experiences in the world as a Muslim. But the most important thing that Western World, especially people who think that immigrants from Islamic countries should be prevented to come to Europe and U.S and it is a true attitude what isn't looking at Islam as a part of Europe and U.S, ought to understand is that they cannot solve the problems they are facing as long as they will continue to discuss Islam just the issues like fundamentalism, burqa, political Islam... because they cannot understand the essential approaches of Islam to non-Muslims. this approach of Islam is really very different from the approaches of terrorists. they should learn what is Islam, and isn't. and another important issue is that they should sincerely talk about what there is in Islam,what isn't after the learning process. Without sincere, Western countries will continue to become more introvert and this won't be sustainable for those people in Europe and U.S. I want to call out all people who read this program. please learn a lot of thing about Islam and, after that, you will understand why you shouldn't think as Hirsi Ali.

    Yours truly,
    Ali İhsan

    March 30, 2010 at 9:53 pm | Reply
  86. Hakan O.

    Isnt it rather counter productive if we have radical atheist people who compare ALL muslims,even the liberals, as threat to society?
    Isn't it rather more dangerous to constantly marking the muslim minorities in the west as an uneducated , violant,barbaric paria group?I respect Ayaan Hirsi Ali for defending the rights of women and Homosexual people like me. BUT some of her views are actually making it harder for so many liberal minded muslim people to fully integrate and to be fully accepted into the western society. She has a huge influence on none muslims in Europe, but one negative side effect is that she is also aiding racists to impose their view ,about islam or immigrants in general, to the none muslim majority. And those who suffer of this are moderate people who see the inner side of a mosque twice a year (or even less), people who dont even know how to read the Quran etc.For people like me, it's like to be stuck between two extremes, the radical muslims who hate everything what's different to their doctrine, or the intolerant atheists and racists who would like to see the religion of islam banished . To be honest, both sides are no real options which offer a peacefull future....

    March 31, 2010 at 12:48 am | Reply
  87. SHREK

    Christiane Amanpour, please do a program on the OPPRESSION / freedoms / intergrations of Christians in Muslim countries like Saudi-Arabia, Irak, Egypt etc. Why are Muslims always treated with gloves and recieve special attention? Why does the media not pay attention to the oppression of Christians (and other religions) in Muslim countries?

    March 31, 2010 at 6:27 am | Reply
  88. Kulsoom

    Last night, your show Islam on Trial showed some eye opening stats such as only 200 women wear Hijab in Dutch society. Now is this an enormous count to pass a bill on?

    I agree with Tariq Ramadan, guest on your show and many others that Burqa has nothing to do with terrorized version of Islam. It is a plain identity to which many Muslim women associate. I myself a Muslim, don't observe Hijab and wear western/eastern clothing but I understand why women take up veil as a moral guard. Even in Iran head scarf is a must and not covering face.

    No where in Islam, it imposes that women MUST cover her face. Infact, she is free to show her face, hands, and feet so in case of identification her face can be witnessed by others.

    Now banning a burqa because they smell fundamentalism from it them I am sorry, its like threatening whole Muslim identity in Europe. Instead the issue should be presented in a manner that banning face cover is been done on security basis. Fundamentalist comes amongst the common only but that doesn't mean we consider every common Muslim a threat to society.

    The above will increase retaliation among all and will burn a hatred emotion against Europeans. After all no nun has ever been asked to take off the scarf, or a father to carry cross anywhere he goes.

    Governments need to rational and not emotional when dealing with sensitive issues like religion and practices.

    March 31, 2010 at 9:43 am | Reply
  89. Zady Faaz

    OPPRESSION OR LIBERATION-
    OPPRESSION OR LIBERATION- For many years the world has witnessed an ongoing attack on Islam and Muslims, both militarily and intellectually.  In fact the west has undertaken a very strategic plan to degrade and demoralize Islam and Muslims.  At the head of this assault is the age-old notion of Islam’s lack of liberty, freedom and its oppression of women.  The infamous of which is the somewhat, unoriginal, yet predictable ‘attack on the hijab’. 

    This attack has in this century been recycled and in the last 18 months the Muslim woman has witnessed a systematic and concerted attack against the hijab.  We find many political and public figures making open statements and attacks on the hijab; for example, in Spain the practice of hijab was deemed ‘savagery’ and ‘a sign of discrimination against women’.

    Furthermore the attack in France being more blatant and apparent where the government itself has called for its ban.  Even in UK, closer to home, the former prime-minister’s wife, Cherie Blair, commenting openly in a press conference said, “Nothing more I think symbolizes the oppression of the woman than the burka.” 

    The irony of this all being that those who attack the Muslim women for being oppressed, backward and uncivilized will find that such labels are far more suited for their own women; who walk half naked in the streets; not a product is a sold unless their bodies are publicized; treated no more than a mere sex object; being no more than a slave to their men-folk; uncovering to please their lusts and desires. 

    On the contrary, we find that Islam came to LIBERATE the woman 1400 years ago.  She is seen as the backbone of society, given a high status of honor, respect and dignity as a mother, a wife, a daughter, given her rights respectively. She is regarded as a pearl in a shell, just like a pearl, she is precious, kept hidden and not for all to touch and see.  Anyone who can recognize this can see that the hijab is a protection from the women’s honor being exploited and violated. 

    Unlike the western woman who dresses to please man, the hijab is a divine obligation upon the Muslim woman to please her creator, raising her status from being an oppressed woman as the west would like to put it, to being an obedient slave to God. So the question that begs to be asked is who is truly backward and who is civilized? Who is truly liberated and who is oppressed? 

    March 31, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Reply
  90. Robert

    It's nothing wrong to wear whatever you want but inhere we face the debate on the general problem rather than buqa wearing. In fact it's visible here in Europe that the islam crusades the rest of the world. New mosque in Poland, shariat law implemented in Great Britain, new regulations being the democratic answer for the muslims demands are facts. And what we see on the opposite side? In main countries being "sponsores" of the crusade I mentioned, all the other religions, other than islam are forbiden. In Saudi Arabia you can loose your life if you try to pry on public, or to urge to convert muslim to catholic i.e. So we should say no to all of "crusaiders" to destroy the democracy culture until the mutuality principle would be implemented.
    It's the political and social problem and has to be considered as a global issue.

    March 31, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Reply
  91. kalim

    i m kalim ullah from pakistan two or three people commented that if any muslim women want to wear buraqa or hijab they should go back to their country my quistion is what about the womens who are born in europe and europe citizen and wear hijab or buraq where would they go ?
    the point in very small percent but now islam is part of europ

    March 31, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Reply
  92. Zayd Faaz

    OPPRESSION OR LIBERATION- For many years the world has witnessed an ongoing attack on Islam and Muslims, both militarily and intellectually.  In fact the west has undertaken a very strategic plan to degrade and demoralize Islam and Muslims.  At the head of this assault is the age-old notion of Islam’s lack of liberty, freedom and its oppression of women.  The infamous of which is the somewhat, unoriginal, yet predictable ‘attack on the hijab’. 

    This attack has in this century been recycled and in the last 18 months the Muslim woman has witnessed a systematic and concerted attack against the hijab.  We find many political and public figures making open statements and attacks on the hijab; for example, in Spain the practice of hijab was deemed ‘savagery’ and ‘a sign of discrimination against women’.

    Furthermore the attack in France being more blatant and apparent where the government itself has called for its ban.  Even in UK, closer to home, the former prime-minister’s wife, Cherie Blair, commenting openly in a press conference said, “Nothing more I think symbolizes the oppression of the woman than the burka.” 

    The irony of this all being that those who attack the Muslim women for being oppressed, backward and uncivilized will find that such labels are far more suited for their own women; who walk half naked in the streets; not a product is a sold unless their bodies are publicized; treated no more than a mere sex object; being no more than a slave to their men-folk; uncovering to please their lusts and desires. 

    On the contrary, we find that Islam came to LIBERATE the woman 1400 years ago.  She is seen as the backbone of society, given a high status of honor, respect and dignity as a mother, a wife, a daughter, given her rights respectively. She is regarded as a pearl in a shell, just like a pearl, she is precious, kept hidden and not for all to touch and see.  Anyone who can recognize this can see that the hijab is a protection from the women’s honor being exploited and violated. 

    Unlike the western woman who dresses to please man, the hijab is a divine obligation upon the Muslim woman to please her creator, raising her status from being an oppressed woman as the west would like to put it, to being an obedient slave to God. So the question that begs to be asked is who is truly backward and who is civilized? Who is truly liberated and who is oppressed? 

    March 31, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Reply
  93. vincent

    hi, i am a dutch citizen and i find that is not good for public safety to wear a burqa, since you can hide almost any (deadly) weapon.

    sure there is a mojority of muslims that are not bad people, (there are a lot of islamic women whom never want to wear a burqa here in The Netherlands because of the oppression from there religon towards women.

    emancipation is in europe something that has been here for a few decades, but islam doesnot want to recognize as it being a good thing, i repect there belives but keep it in your own countries.
    here in western europe and in the US it shud not be tolleratet for the cause of public saftey, sure there are good muslims that would be affected also, but thats the price they have to pay because of the minority of the people whom screw it up for the rest of there fellow muslims by strapping boms to there body's so that they can kill innocent people.

    here in the Netherlands they will crouwd up into neigbourhoods where they only live with fellow muslims and will not come into contact with non muslims. recently there was a tv show here that showed that these people start making Gangs like in the US (crips and such) witch i found shocking to see starting to happen here.

    and i think that there shud be a law that will see when criminal offences are made by foreners that they should be sent back to there home contries, with no possibilty to return here. that might help a bit for public safety. ofcource there are also non foreners whom commit crimes, but the problem is they are in there home countrie so these people cant be sendeout so they will have to go to jail here.

    and again i don't mind that muslims are comming here to live and work there is a large group that are normal citezen that would not even think about killing innocent people (like the smaller group that comes here with those horrific ideals of killing as much as they can here)

    March 31, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Reply
    • Gabi

      that all the law and the prophets can be smuemd up in one sentence: Love your neighbor as yourself. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.Jesus cut to the chase. Now if quoting various scriptures out of context will get you into Heaven, you're a shoo-in, bro.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:35 am | Reply
  94. johannes

    i also live in a country where many christian women wear a veil! .. to them its a christian tradition since over 100 years!
    so if the veil should be baned i would like to see who is going to tell them what is forbiden or not!!

    March 31, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Reply
  95. Charles Okweyeh

    Until we human see our self as one and let religion be a second course... these will continue. Am a Christian and I can live with a Muslim and do anytin wit them. I am surprise that some people don't consider the human nature in them before inflinging pain on a fellow. The Muslims are always after their fellow human's life; may be their religion surports it. They (suicide bombers) should know that this people they kill along with their rejected soul are human.

    If they government comes up with a law that will favour human (as a whole) not considering ur religion. Please lets abide by it. Its for our own good.

    A lot of tins are hidden under that vail; its better we live a free live with each other and be good friend.

    March 31, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Reply
  96. Mumtaza

    I think we need to let religion to be practised and increased social integration between people no matter what religion they believe in. Europe or United States have been very nice in accepting immigrants from Muslim countries and I guess its true that immigrants need to blend in with the local culture and habits.

    Yet, It does not mean that they have to give up their rituals. A Christian can wear a really big cross necklace and carry bible everywhere just like a Muslim women can wear hijab or head scarf. Its religious expression not political movement. I understand that women wearing burqa or niqab might create feeling of insecurity to those around them but let's see the fact that they are wearing it for it's their habit. Niqab or burqa is just a culture and not religious based. So please, do not relate this to any Islamophobia issues. I am not denying the fact that these women wearing buqa or niqab might be rigid in their behavior but believe me not all of them are either repressed or like to wear it.

    Basically, what we need is understanding of both sides and no religion needs to be oppressed or blamed. And for Mr. Erik, no matter what religion one is, they could be bad or good. No religion is teaching or preaching to mock other religions. Prophet Muhammad never mocked other religions and he respected others than Muslim.

    I am a Muslim, wearing a head scarf and never mock other religions. My brother is a Christian preacher and we are good with each other. Please, dont stereoptype Muslims for mockery because, I cant deny not hide this fact, that there are some Muslim that hate other religious believers and simply be extreme in their behavior towards others. while some other believed that we are live side by side and so be it, you are you and i am me. And i also believed that this does not happen among Muslims only but others as well. So let us see the fact that there are some boundaries that no man can jump over, like prohibiting women from wearing hijab or stopping Muslim from praying or mocking a sacred religious believe like prohibition of producing any physicalities of Prophet Muhammad. Just like Muslims are not allowed to mock Jesus, or kill innocent in the name of God which is a very wrong perception of understanding the concept of jihad.

    even I as a Muslim is fighting against the terrorist which are also Muslim for their wrong approaches. But should I open my headscarf just because of people are scared of me because I look like those terrorists? Hitler was a Christian and killed many Jews but did anyone call all Christians terrorist just because one person's evil doings just like what the world been calling Muslims, Indian Hindus, and Christian Arabs terrorists because of Afghani Muslim is behind all of this terrorism acts?

    I think we shall ponder this back.

    March 31, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Reply
  97. Umar

    Virgin Mary(PBUH) used to wear a headscarf, by banning burqa(not full veil) are you saying that she was wrong. We Muslims respect Virgin Mary the most among all the women of the world and try to be like her, is that so bad? Infact there's whole chapter in Holy Qur'an dedicated to her.
    I strongly believe that muslim women should not be forced to wear Hijab, since Islam strongly condemns it. If muslim women wear a hijab it should be by choice ,by their own will.

    March 31, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Reply
  98. wow

    @ sara from algeria, i don't know if your stories are true but Bayo's statement that no other religion is operating freely inside saudi arabia is definitely true. I also heard some stories that some women who are wearing abaya and burqa take advantage of it by conceiling themselves in shoplifting and sometimes prostitution.

    March 31, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Reply
  99. zaharaddeen balarabe

    Some people choose to walk around with their body exposed, and a woman as a Muslim choose to cover her whole body. I guess walking around with the body covered is socially more acceptable than the body being exposed. So wearing the hijab is nobody's problem. What is the gain of banning the burqa? I think everything a Muslim does today is a source of a heated argument. Today we have in our societies, people who choose to be Naturist... Please Ayaan Hirsi Ali, France, Europe and the rest of those Islamic critics should give WE MUSLIMS a break!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 31, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Reply
  100. Ayse

    As a Turkish Secular muslim, I agree with Ayan Hursi Ali's point of views. Covering women's hair or body is a way of suppressing women. Political Islam uses women's hijab or veil for their purpose; just look at who is in power in Turkey now and what they are doing to a secular country.

    April 1, 2010 at 1:39 am | Reply
  101. Joey

    I think it's not right to take the banning of the burqa or any other head scarfs literally. It's not a question of freedom of expression. It is much more than that. It is a question of might lie behind the women wearing the burqa. How can one tell if every single one of those women who were the Burqa are choosing to do so? Are they willing to wear it or not? If from the 2000 women who wear the Burqa in France there is 1 that is forced to do so? What shall we do? Is life fair on that women? I think the law is needed to help protect the dignity of that one women.

    April 1, 2010 at 2:56 am | Reply
  102. Talha

    At Ms. SK i have alot to say but from past 2 to 3 days i am continuously in conversation with different friends on face book so repeating everything again and again wud dull the conversation, here i am agreed with you and would suggest you to watch my newly made film 'OPEN THE BLINDFOLDS' this film is going to be screened at LONDON INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL on may 1st. And the film is covering people from different religions studying together in missionaries schools in Pakistan and living in Pakistan since long and the existence of missionary schools in Pakistan their Churches, Temples for Hindu worship places for Parsis are it self a example of religious harmony and every one is free to practice their beliefs and free to go church and take bible out anywhere.
    And you guys are absolutely correct 'Yahye abdulle, Jay Koenaefi Løgager, Hamood.
    And to Andy arnold my above documentary film would clear your perception about Islamic countries.

    April 2, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Reply

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.