Assuming that all Muslim women in headscarves are oppressed is ignorant. Women cannot be empowered by taking away their autonomy, free will and right to choose
France’s relationship with the veil has been fractious for a while now. The latest drive to ban the hijab for anyone under the age of 18 – part of the “separatism bill” – stems from a movement, growing in Europe since 9/11, which targets women wearing headscarves and veils: the burqa and the niqab.
In February 2004, the National Assembly (the lower house of the parliament in France) began debating a bill to ban religious symbols from schools, including Muslim headscarves, Jewish skullcaps and large Christian crosses. Prior to this, in September 2003, many of Germany’s regions had already banned teachers from wearing headscarves.
In 2011, France became the first country to ban all women from wearing any sort of veil, or the niqab outside their homes in any public place. The niqab ban was the first in Europe and it really questioned France’s attitude to the integration of Muslims in the country. The right-wing parties, including the Republicans led by Nicolas Sarkozy and National Rally led by Marine Le Pen, started a nationwide debate on the place of Muslims in France and hailed France’s “Christian heritage”.
In 2014, this ban was upheld by the European Courts, which stated that the goal of the ban was to preserve the ideas of national integrity. In 2016, several of the coastal municipal towns imposed the burkini ban for Muslim women.
Categories: The Muslim Times