Does NiqaBitch Enrich the Burqa Ban Debate?

With articles in Der Spiegel, Rue89, The Telegraph, and a YouTube video in recent weeks, the two self-described web-activists called Niqabitch are making a splash in the French (and European) media landscape. As they said themselves in the Rue89 article, throwing on a burqa in protest of France’s burqa ban would be “too simple.” They wanted to see what would happen by mixing things up a bit and throwing together a niqab with a miniskirt.So the ladies of MMW got together and discussed our feel … [Read more...]

Bérengère Lefranc’s “Un voile, Un certain moi de juin”

Un voile, Un certain moi de juin is the story of French artist Bérengère Lefranc's decision to wear a "burqa" (although she hesitates to define it as such) for one month and write about it.  I was skeptical about this book after reading an initial review of it in Swiss daily Le Temps. Not normally a fan of these "Let's play dress up" stories, I set out to read the book anyway.  Already, the title bothers me.  "Voile" is "veil" in French, and the garment Ms. Lefrance wears most closely resembles a … [Read more...]

Cold Comfort: Supporting Arguments don’t do Burqa Bans a Favor

The proposed French ban on facial coverings* worn by some Muslim women seems like it hasn't left the news for weeks, with new developments popping up regularly and prompting, again, a wave of articles and editorials on the topic. One theme that I've noticed lately is the tendency for people opposed to the ban to contextualize their opposition with a comment along the lines of "I really don't like the burqa/niqab/veil, but I don't agree that it should be banned."  One Canadian blog describes it … [Read more...]

The French (Dis)Connection: on the role of Media and Politics in the Burqa Ban

Aged patronizing feminists, young veiled victims (of Islamist threat), and endangered laïcité éternelle (everlasting secularism): those were the main ingredients of a huge media bubble blown into people’s minds in France this summer.It all started with the sketch of a proposition bill: André Gérin, a left-wing deputy and mayor asked in June the French Parliament to create an Enquiry Commission into the wearing of burqa. His text, co-signed by 58 other deputies, aimed to define legally the lengt … [Read more...]

Sarkozy to the Rescue! France, Burqas, and the Question of “Choice”

As I'm sure many of you have seen already, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said last week that he supports a commission to consider banning the wearing of burqas in public places.  Here are some excerpts of his speech, quoted from this article: "We cannot accept to have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of identity," Mr. Sarkozy told a special session of parliament in Versailles."That is not the idea that the French republic has of … [Read more...]

The French Connection: France’s Newest Muslim Women’s Magazine

Muslimah Media Watch thanks Hijabtrendz for the tip!Those of you who speak French should go check out MWM, a new magazine for Muslim women, published in France.  It's first issue is free and currently online.  It seems like future issues will require a subscription, but their subscription section isn't up yet.The magazine introduces itself by saying: Today, the Muslim woman in the media is the archetype par excellence of the woman who is oppressed and condemned to a stereotyped r … [Read more...]

Debating the morality of Rachida Dati

Ms. Rachida Dati, France’s first female Muslim minister, has been criticized for returning to work only five days after giving birth to a baby girl. The media seems to favor the public view that Dati’s decision is a reckless political stunt that makes light of the responsibility of mothers everywhere. Dati, half-Algerian and half-Moroccan, is the second of 12 children. She’s been the center of media attention, primarily because she’s style-conscious, attractive and single, ever since France’s Pre … [Read more...]


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