Not content with arresting and imposing fines on Muslim women wearing niqab as well as expulsion of modestly dressed Muslim girls and women from schools and government jobs; Associated Press and other media outlets reported on Monday the 1st of April that French President Francoise Holland expressed his wish to see a broadening of the headscarf ban in France into the private sector. His comments followed a ruling in March by France’s top court that a privately-run nursery had unfairly sacked a Muslim woman for wearing the Islamic headscarf. The decision caused an uproar amongst anti-Islam far-right groups and their supporters. Not wishing to miss out on some political point-scoring amongst the staunch secularists and rising fascist elements of French society, nor seem out of step with the significant Islamophobic sentiments within the country, the socialist government was quick to warn that the court ruling was a threat to the “principles of secularism”, while Hollande stated that he wanted a new draconian law that could extend the old draconian restrictions on state employees wearing the hijab into the private sector. The centre-right opposition party, UMP has now tabled a bill in parliament under which any companies would be able to outlaw any religious symbols or practices. Meanwhile, on Wednesday 3rd of April, three members of the sordid feminist group FEMEN protested half-naked and burned the noble Rayah flag of Islam in front of Paris’s Grande Mosque to express their malevolent view on Islam, arguing that it oppresses women on the grounds that it requires Muslim women to wear dress modestly at work contrast to a Muslim woman’s fight to dress modestly at work, this repulsive act that was an insult to the millions of Muslims globally who hold this flag dearly as a symbol of their Islamic belief, did not elicit a single word of condemnation or criticism from Hollande, his socialist government, or any mainstream French political party.
Hollande and his socialist government seem intent on continuing the sleazy French legacy of playing politics with the hijab and using Muslim women as human shields to deflect public attention and outrage away from political scandals and crises and onto the non-issue of women’s clothes. It is surely no coincidence that the president’s comments come at a time when he is languishing in opinion polls, struggling with sluggish economic growth and high unemployment rates, and is reeling from an explosive tax fraud scandal involving his ex-Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac who has been charged with laundering the proceeds of tax fraud. All this once again demonstrates the depraved nature of secularism under which politicians have no qualms, nor face any judicial reprimand for playing the race card to win votes, or for using Muslim women as political fodder to feed the political ambitions of presidents or parties. It exposes the cynical nature of secular politics where fuelling Islamophobia and stigmatizing communities has become the accepted norm of securing political mileage. It illustrates that the secular system, whether implemented by a socialist or capitalist government carries a genetic disposition of religious racism that oppresses religious minorities and strips them of basic rights. And it highlights the farce, hypocrisy and decadence of secular freedoms that make second-class citizens of dignified women who express the sublime value of modesty; whilst celebrating licentiousness and giving a free-hand without rebuke to those who shamelessly expose their bodies within society and insult the belief of over 1.5 billion Muslims.
It is therefore not surprising why each year thousands of Muslim and non-Muslim women in the West are rejecting secularism, unconvinced by this ideology that has shunned morality and has a perverted view of women’s dignity, cheapened their status within society, and publically displayed its intellectual weakness by frantically resorting to force-feeding its values to Muslim women as the means to their acceptance rather than through sound arguments and intellectual conviction. In its place, they are embracing Islam – a system founded upon a belief that rationally convinces the mind and elevates women to a high status within society, viewing the protection of their dignity and rights as sacred, and defining modesty as a virtue rather than a crime. We call Muslim women in France to keep true to their Islamic belief and covenant with Allah by remaining steadfast to their Islamic obligations, including their Islamic dress and not to be seduced away by fear or favour at the hand of their oppressive state from the unimaginable rewards of Jannah awaiting those who keep firm to their obedience to their Creator.
Dr. Nazreen Nawaz
Member of the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir