She Wore a Face Veil to a Paris Opera. They Asked Her to Leave

By Steele, Anne | The Christian Science Monitor, October 20, 2014 | Go to article overview

She Wore a Face Veil to a Paris Opera. They Asked Her to Leave


Steele, Anne, The Christian Science Monitor


The Opera Bastille in Paris ejected a woman who was wearing a full face veil apparently after members of the cast said they would not go on with the show until she was removed.

A 2011 French law bans anyone from wearing clothing that covers his or her face, which officials argue prevent clear identification of a person - a security risk, they say, as well as a "social hindrance within a society which relies of facial recognition and expression in communication," according to Breitbart.

The law effectively prohibits women from wearing full niqab in public spaces including streets, shops, museums, public transportation, and parks. The ban also applies to the burqa if it covers the face. A woman may only wear a niqab or burqa is if she is travelling in a private car or worshipping.

Breitbart reported the woman, who was said to have been from the "Gulf area" was sitting with a man at a performance of La Traviata in the front row of the theater. Her seat was just behind the conductor and theater officials spotted her on a monitor, noting her veil covered her nose and mouth.

"I was alerted in the second act," said Jean-Philippe Thiellay, the institute's deputy director, adding that "Some performers said they did not want to sing" if something was not done, according to French 24.

An official told the woman, who was a visitor, that her face covering was banned in France and asked her to either uncover her face or leave the room.

"The man asked the woman to get up, they left," Thiellay said.

The pair had paid EUR 231 each for their seats and did not demand any compensation, the Opera Bastille said, according to the International Business Times.

"It's never nice to ask someone to leave," Thiellay said. "But there was a misunderstanding of the law and the lady either had to respect it or leave."

The incident comes amid rising concern in France over homegrown jihadists, as hundreds of defectors are believed to be fighting for the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

Despite women in Raqqa, the caliphate's de facto capital, suffering extreme societal repression, an increasing number of foreign women have traded their lives and families in France to join the jihad society, The Christian Science Monitor reported. Women moving to Syria to get married or join their husbands are an essential element of the propaganda and strategy of IS's fundamentalist campaign.

Dozens of teenagers - including a young Jewish girl - have fled France to join Islamic State militants fighting in Syria and Iraq, French intelligence has revealed, according to the Daily Mail.

Last week, residents in the eastern French city of Strasbourg were alarmed this week when they saw what they thought was a group of "apprentice jihadists" training in a park using fake weapons, The Monitor reported. …

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