The islamophobic discrimination to the Muslims by the French government does not even stop for vacations. The images of the armed French police in a beach of Nice, forcing a woman to take off her hijab and sanctioning her with a fine, have ran around the social networks. This recent show of racism in the French coast re-enlightens the debate on freedom of expression in the country of the European Union that most raises this flag.

By May Assir.


Legalization and institutionalization of Islamophobia

The prohibition of Islamic clothes, “strangely” feminine (as the beard or the male Islamic clothes are not forbidden) is not new in France. In 2010, the use of the body veil was forbidden, supported by the European Court of Human Rights of Strasburg, as it considered “the face plays an important role in the social interaction (…) and covering it in public places might imply a threat for sociability”.

The recent order, implemented in more than 15 French cities, forbids the entrance to the beach to those who “do not respect the good traditions and secularity, the rules of hygiene and security”.

Also, the laws go together with bold statements by high political positions, who do nothing more than fomenting fear. The Prime Minister Manuel Valls stated on an interview to the newspaper La Provence that the burqini represents a world vision based on “women slavery”. The General Services Director of Cannes Council (one of the cities in which the bathing burqini was forbidden) did not think twice when saying “the burqini is a sign of adhesion to the Jihad”.

On one side, these laws and statements encourage the idea that Muslim women are submissive and like Jihadism and being slaves, making the most conservative sectors of society to increase their hate to this people. On the other side, they deprive women of being the subject of their own decisions and their political vindications, and also from their right to use public spaces (work in the public administration or go to the beach).

The combination of racist propaganda and restrictive laws against women (who decide how they want to dress) turned on the flame of Islamophobic aggressions, tripled in France only during last year.

But it seems Islamophobia channels only to one social class, and the more oppressed sector of it: women. The hypocrisy of the French government is more evident each time. While it forbids the burqini, it discriminates the refugees and bombs Syria with the alleged goal of ending the world terrorism.

Manuel Valls does not seem to have a problem with having strategic agreements with Saudi Arabia, country in which women are forced to wear hijab, and not precisely one of the most exemplar countries regarding freedom of expression. These agreements include military, energetic and construction cooperation, being that it is more than known that the millionaire donations financing ISIS (alleged main enemy of France) come from the Gulf. So basically, France not only does not fight terrorism, as it finances and encourages it.

Against the “purple washing” and austerity

As the activist Brigitte Vasalló states, these governments “only become ‘feminists’ when it is about cutting basic rights to Muslim women”. The “purple washing” is the use of women rights to justify the xenophobia, and today more than ever the feminist and anti-capitalist activists must join our Muslim comrades of struggle to fight these laws, which do nothing more than oppress and justify the aggression against Muslim women.

Besides, we have to point out and condemn the smokescreen of the State, for the non-Muslim population to talk about “wearing burqini or not” and not feel identified with our comrades, instead of talking about the recent approval of the labour code reform, which attacks the working people as a whole.

But the struggle for free decision of women does not start, nor ends, within the Gallic country. In some aquatic parks in Catalonia this clothes is being forbidden too. Solidarity is our weapon against all those who force us taking off or putting on, be it in France or Saudi Arabia, as they do not doubt when exploiting and oppressing us all equally.

It is necessary to start listening to the demands of our female Muslim comrades in the meetings, and propose demonstrations now the labor year is beginning in the universities, institutes and work places.

Covered or uncovered, we decide!

Against racism, male-chauvinism and exploitation: not one single step back!


Originally published @

Translation: Sofía Ballack.