THE French parliament is set to ban Muslim women from attending their children’s school trip wearing the hijab, a symbol seen as a threat to republican, or libertarian, belief. Passed earlier, the ‘Separatist Bill’ has made its way through the legislature and will bring a change that would place a hurdle in Muslim women’s lives and their integration in society.

It is difficult to understand the fact that there is a rise in racism and anti-Muslim behaviour globally in the midst of a pandemic which has killed millions of people. Unfortunately, in this time of a global crisis, we still have time to hate each other and criticise others on their religion and identity.

However, by targeting the religious beliefs of one minority group, French politicians are either manipulating the facts to gain political popularity in the upcoming elections or they are truly unaware of the teachings of Islam. French politicians have not tried to comprehend the core beliefs of the religion, and yet have already passed a law.

It is thought by these politicians that Muslim women are oppressed which is why they are passing the bill in parliament; to ‘liberate’ them. Ideally, public opinion matters. In line with their customs, the French politicians should have asked Muslim women about their opinions first on the importance of hijab, which, to many, is a comforting honour that frees them from the judgements of society based on physical appearance, and provides others a chance to interact with them on the basis of who they are rather than how they look.

To tie it all together, although the French politicians’ stated aim is to have a unified society, they are not only setting a spark for conflict, but are going against their very words and goals.

Attiya Ghani

Georgia, USA

Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2021

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