Hijab and Quebec’s Charter of Secularism

PQ leader Pauline Marois speaks to women in hijab while campaigning in early September. Photo via Reuters.

MMW is excited to welcome wood turtle as our newest contributor! You may know her already from previous guest posts or from her personal blog, and we look forward to having her as a regular part of the MMW team.Earlier this month, the Canadian province of Quebec elected its first female Premier. Headed by Pauline Marois, the Parti Québécois won a minority government after almost 10 years of Liberal rule. This election was also marked by accusations of xenophobia and racism, and ended drama … [Read more...]

When Laïcité Goes Wrong, or When Burqa Checks Start Getting Real

Since the anti-burqa law (or whatever you want to call it, I can’t anymore) was passed in France, women with “full cover” can be cited for non-compliance, and can be stopped for identity checks.  We all remember the story of the polygamous butcher and his many niqab-clad wives gleefully committing welfare fraud.  One of his wives was stopped while driving, and it was argued that she was pulled over, not for a traditional traffic offense, but because she was driving with a niqab on (which is why s … [Read more...]

Change Is Now? No, Not Yet: Manuel Valls as France’s New Interior Minister

Manuel Valls

I was rather excited about Francois Hollande winning the French elections this month.  I hoped that five years of hateful, fear mongering policy towards Muslims by Sarkozy and his minions would come to an end and that Hollande, for all his supposed blandness, would bring some low-key normalcy to the French presidency.There was one flaw in my reasoning: Manuel Valls, Hollande’s new Interior Minister.  The Interior Minister in France is a quite important cabinet position, responsible for int … [Read more...]

The French “Niqab Ban,” One Year On

Visage découvert poster

A year ago this week, a French law came into effect banning face veils for women.  At the time, the law was subject to much derision for “only” affecting the very specific number of 367 niqab and burqa-clad women (as of 2009) in France, although at its time, the law was thought to concern a couple thousand women.Anything relating to Muslims has long been a political tool in France, be it from the far-right National Front (FN) party, or from President Sarkozy’s Union for a Popular Movement (UM … [Read more...]

Politics as Usual: France Gets Riled Up About a Candidate’s Headscarf

Headscarves are the hot talking point in French politics again. But on this occasion, we aren’t talking about girls getting kicked out of high school or women getting kicked out of mayors’ offices.No, the latest uproar comes about Ms. Ilham Moussaïd, a candidate from the New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA) in France’s upcoming regional elections who dares to “visually” identify herself as a Muslim and stand for election.  Feminists and politicians are up in arms. While not the first candidate wit … [Read more...]


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