Behind the Burqa Ban: The Problem with France’s Muslim Feminists

This article was written by Peter Gray.France’s decision to outlaw face veils sparked a robust debate about religion and women’s rights. In response to concerns that the law will negatively impact Muslim women, its advocates frequently mention that it enjoys the approval of several prominent French Muslim feminists. What is not mentioned, however, is that behind their feminist façade, these women have a troubling record of harassing the women they claim to speak for.Discussions of Muslim fe … [Read more...]

The Republic Lives its Islamophobia Openly: France’s Newest Anti-Niqab Campaign

In France, they really don’t like any type of head coverings.  After decades of one headscarf affair after another, where generations of young women who wear hijab are forced to stop their education (way to go in liberating women, France), things got serious when France woke up in recent years to the threat of illegal polygamous niqabis and their "creeping Shariah."To counter the 367 burqa-clad women (this is a real number, I kid you not) in France in 2009 (which must mean millions in 2015, of … [Read more...]

Ni Putes Ni Soumises: Experiments in Online Activism

This was written by Lobna Hadji and originally appeared at OWNI.eu, Digital Journalism.I wasn’t meant to die so young… My name is Sohane Benziane. I was born in France to Algerian parents. On October 4th, 2002 my life came to a sudden end when my ex-boyfriend NoNo set me on fire. I remember the screams, the insults…the gasoline. For a quick moment, I became a flambeau vivant- a living torch. My flame died two hours later at the hospital.Fadela Amara is a human rights activist who foun … [Read more...]

Swiss Miss: Temps Present’s Mixed Bag of Information

The Swiss political and media landscape is charged with loaded images of Muslim women.  The French side of Swiss media (namely, in newspapers like Le Temps) usually presents a balanced view of Muslim women, and television shows are of a decent quality, especially compared to television in the U.S.So I had no reason to be anything but excited for the December 16th episode of “Temps Present” on the TSR. But the show fell short, starting out with a reminder that we are a little over a year after t … [Read more...]

Discussions About Muslim Women Should Include Them: To the Contrary!

In July, two women in France were asked to leave a holiday camp because of an attempt to swim while wearing burqinis, because of “hygiene” issues. While such an incident occurred last summer, this time around it comes hot on the heels of the ban on the burqa and niqab.The PBS program, To The Contrary, is described as a platform for discussing primarily political reasons concerning women. The purpose is to discuss local and international issues from a diverse range of perspectives. However, thi … [Read more...]

Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow: A Young Woman’s Portrait of Muslims in France

I’ve been working on a curriculum project involving novels and memoirs about Muslim women, so the next few posts from me will probably be focusing on some of the books I’ve come across, even if none of them were published especially recently.  So, for those of you who like following our posts about literature (some directed specifically to young adults, although not all of it): enjoy!Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow is written by Faïza Guène, a young French woman of Algerian origin, who wrote the book when … [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...]


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