“The Erasure of Muslim women in France!”

Jul 14, 2010 @ 3:13 pm | By TheFeministGriote | 2 Comments

“…we all suffer in some way, but that we are not all oppressed nor equally oppressed.”-bell hooks

President Sarkozy has declared war on Islam and of course the beneficiaries of his wrath are women-Muslim women. Today 7/14/2010 the French Parliament will vote on the law called Voile integral that will ban women from wearing a burkha, sitar, or khimar in public in France. Apparently being Islamaphobic is very en-vogue in Europe. According to the website guardian.co.uk Belgium, Spain, and Italy are fans of this law and may want to mimic this law in their respective countries. According to BBC news on 7/13/2010 the French lower house voted to ban the burkha and the vote was 335 to 1 and the BBC also posted that 70% of  French voters support the banning of the burkha.

President Sarkozy states, “the the burkha is a sign of ‘subservience’ and the ‘debasement’ of women” and this is why France is on a mission to rid Muslim women of their religious garb. I do not believe that it is the job of President Sarkozy and France to “liberate” Muslim women who have no qualms about wearing the burkha or hijab. France wants Muslim women to assimilate more into French culture and adopt a more “French identity” which does not allow for differences or diversity. How is this more “liberating” for Muslim women. This ethnocentrism is very dangerous and threatens to erase the cultural identity of Muslim women who live in France.

No man, state, or country has the right to tell a woman that she is subservient to a particular way of life and then legislate a new form of oppression upon that woman. I recall when I visited Philadelphia in the summer of 2005 and I remember seeing an abundance of African-American women who converted to Islam and who proudly wore their burkha or hijab. I remember walking down South Street in Philly and being so enamored with the sight of young Muslim American women who felt beautiful and empowered by wearing their religious garb. Every morning  I go walking around the park and there are two women who I see every morning working out as well. I am naturally wearing sweatpants, but these two particular women one wears a long jean skirt and the other wears a dress to work out. I surmised that they must not believe in women wearing pants and therefore they’re exercising their right to exercise in an attire they deem more appropriate for them. Who is right or wrong?  Neither of us. What the French is trying to doing is rooted in ethnocentrism and lacks cultural sensitivity. Women have a choice whether or not to don the full burkha or just the hijab, but making it illegal for them to wear their burkha in public and fining them 150 euros does what exactly? It appears this a covert way to legislate intolerance and purposely incite hatred for Muslims.  I wouldn’t wear a burkha, if I don’t have to, but I am not going to assume that all women who do wear burkhas need to be saved and delivered.

This is so reminiscent of  the Sex In the City 2 when they visited Abu Dhabi. The four women were so critical and judgmental of the women in Abu Dhabi and not once did it occur to any of the characters that these women may be exercising their own free will. I don’t care what President Sarkozy and the 70% of French who believe in this ban think. I want to know how do Muslim women feel or does that not matter because France wants to think and feel for them?  Not all women find western attire flattering and maybe we are the ones who are oppressed because we are slaves to wearing heels, makeup, and constantly trying to fight mother nature. I think it is socially irresponsible to assume that all Muslim women are oppressed and the burkha is the tool of oppression. Free your Mind and the rest will follow!!!!!

Categories: Mind Over Chatter

2 Responses to “ “The Erasure of Muslim women in France!” ”

  1. President Sarkozy states, “the the burkha is a sign of ’subservience’ and the ‘debasement’ of women”
    It’s more transparent than ever that this is form of ethnocentrism to its fullest degree or some would say neo-colonialism. This is a total mockery of democracy and like the U.S. France probably has never renewed their stance on female suffrage rights also. This statement coming from a man especially a politicians basically offers the preconceived notion that once again patriarchal and misogynist legislation will always trump over the lives of women who are constantly being oppressed whether it is through; abortion right, the institution or marriage, or yet the indirect capitulation of the way which females think of beauty . This new passage of legislation coming France begs the question as to where is the since of culture that France and other European countries have received notoriety for, but importantly whether this legislation had any women especially middle eastern women offering their spoken words to this bill. I hope the women and men that sit on the legislature will disparage their parochial view on Middle Eastern people as mere threat to the fabric of democracy and reconsider their votes, lastly where is Gloria Steinman when you need her or better yet Amy Goodman? LOL!

  2. The subject of Muslim women and their traditional attire has been a burning issue for years. Although some Muslim women would prefer not to wear a burkha, sitar, khimar or hijab, there are some that are quite comfortable in their modesty and prefer to have their bodies completely covered. What disturbs me is that President Sarkozy is using this ban as a pretext. Due to recent terrorist activity in Moscow involving female suicide bombers the French Government has finally realized that women are just as involved in criminal terrorist activity as men. Within the past four years there have been over a dozen female terrorist cells established within the US, Iran, Iraq and Syria. In fact most terrorist cells on average consist of 10 males and 2 females. The females are relied upon because they can smuggle biochemicals in their vagina across borders, and for the women that are carrying bombs a full Khimar and Niqab makes it completely undetectable. President Sarkozy’s motives have nothing to do with freeing Muslim women from oppressive garb. they simply want for all Muslims to look and dress like all other Europeans because every time a Muslim woman walks into a crowded public area, they can’t tell if she’s a law abiding citizen or strapped and ready to claim lives.

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