@ShujaRabbani (9 January 2015, 528 retweets, 467 favorites)

If France wants to prove her honesty in believing in their 'Freedom', show us that you will not force Muslim women to take off their scarves

Saladin Ahmed (8 January 2015, 2976 retweets, 2495 favorites)

"These savages need to learn that free expression is sacred in the west!"

That must be why Muslim women in France can't wear headscarves.

@BreshnaAfghan (11 January 2015, 76 retweets, 58 favorites)

"it's about freedom of expression in France"

Wait a minute, the same France which has banned the hijab?



Are Muslim headscarves banned in France?

  • What do you mean with 'banned', legally banned? Jan 14, 2015 at 23:49
  • 2
    @CarloAlterego that's what the tweets are implying, so yes.
    – Golden Cuy
    Jan 15, 2015 at 0:30
  • 1
    Voting to close because it takes minimal effort to find an answer (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_ban_on_face_covering) Jan 15, 2015 at 1:20
  • 4
    @LarryOBrien "Minimal effort" is a reason for downvoting ("This question does not show any research effort; etc."), not a reason for closing.
    – ChrisW
    Jan 15, 2015 at 1:30
  • 1
    @LarryOBrien I haven't answered the question myself for two reasons. 1) I don't want to hog all the reputation for myself. 2) Although I know the claim as stated is not accurate, someone who follows French politics more closely would give a more nuanced answer than "Those idiots are just making it all up".
    – Golden Cuy
    Jan 15, 2015 at 1:52

2 Answers 2


The claim isn't accurate - you won't be prosecuted for wearing a headscarf in public. However, it might be a misinterpretation or conflation of one or two things that do exist.

There is the French ban on face covering. This prohibits the wearing of clothing that entirely covers the face, unless there is a specific reason for it. The stated rationale is not to do with religion, but security and social interaction. This ban does not apply to clothing that is on the head, but does not cover the face. As such, a religious headscarf would not be banned, though a burqa would be.

There is also the French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools. This applies to French public (government operated) schools, and bans "conspicuous" religious symbols. This does include religious headscarves. However, the ban, at least in theory, applies to symbols of many religions, not just those of Islam.

  • When you say "isn't accurate" is that because a "Muslim headscarf" doesn't (for some definition of "headscarf") cover the face, or is it because the law against face-covering isn't enforced?
    – ChrisW
    Jan 15, 2015 at 9:45
  • 4
    It doesn't cover the face. From the first Wikipedia article: "Veils such as the chador, scarves and other headwear that do not cover the face, are not affected by this law and can be worn.[4]".
    – Golden Cuy
    Jan 15, 2015 at 9:59

There's the following law (the subject of this wikipedia article) which says,

Nul ne peut, dans l’espace public, porter une tenue destinée à dissimuler son visage.

Pour l’application de l’article 1er, l’espace public est constitué des voies publiques ainsi que des lieux ouverts au public ou affectés à un service public.

L’interdiction prévue à l’article 1er ne s’applique pas si la tenue est prescrite ou autorisée par des dispositions législatives ou réglementaires, si elle est justifiée par des raisons de santé ou des motifs professionnels, ou si elle s’inscrit dans le cadre de pratiques sportives, de fêtes ou de manifestations artistiques ou traditionnelles.

My translation:

No-one can, in public, wear clothing intended to hide their face.

"In public" means on public roads, in places open to the public or for a public service.

This interdiction doesn't apply if the clothing is prescribed or authorized by legislation, if it's justified for health reasons or professional motives, or in the context of sportive practices, festivals, or artistic or traditional shows.

In 2014 a test case before the European Court of Human Rights ruled to allow this law.

La Cour admet qu'il y a une "ingérence permanente" de la France dans l'exercice des droits que [sic] la requérante, mais que cette ingérence poursuit deux des buts légitimes énumérés dans les articles 8 et 9 : la "sécurité" ou la "sûreté" publiques, et la "protection des droits et libertés d'autrui".

My translation:

The court admits that there's a "permanent intrusion" of the French state into the exercise of the plaintiff's rights, but that this intrusion pursues two of the legitimate goals enumerated in articles 8 and 9: the public "security" or "safety", and the "protection of the rights and liberties of others".

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