Thursday, 17 July 2008

Mother dressed in 'burka' denied French citizenship - Saga Continues with "House Muslims"

A Muslim member of the French Government has attacked the head-to-toe Islamic dress as a prison, applauding a court decision to deny citizenship to a Moroccan woman who wore it.

“The burka is a prison, a strait-jacket,” Fadela Amara, the Minister for Urban Affairs and a longstanding women's rights campaigner, said yesterday. “It is not religious. It is the insignia of a totalitarian political project for sexual inequality.”

The court decision denying Faiza Mabchour, 32, French citizenship has drawn approval from both Left and Right, highlighting a rejection of Muslim customs that conflict with the values of the secular French republic.

“The affair of the burka”, as it has become known, began in late June when the Council of State, the highest civil court, endorsed a decision to refuse nationality to Ms Mabchour because her practices conflicted with French society and especially sexual equality.

Ms Mabchour, a French-speaker who lives in a southern Paris suburb, came to France in 2000 after marrying a Frenchman of North African background. They have three children, all French. At her husband's request she converted to Salafism, a hardline school of Islam that is strong in Saudi Arabia. She began wearing the dress that the French media call the burka, but which is strictly a niqab.

In the first ruling of its type Ms Mabchour's application was rejected because she had failed to integrate. Emmanuelle Prada-Bordenave, the state commissioner who decided the appeal, noted that Ms Mabchour had appeared for interviews “clothed from head to toe in the clothing of women from the Arabian peninsula, with a veil covering her hair, forehead and chin and a piece of cloth over her face. Her eyes could only be seen through a small slit.

“She lives virtually as a recluse, disconnected from French society. She has no concept of laïcité [the principle of the secular State] nor the right to vote. She lives in total subservience to the men in her family,” she added.

The decision was the latest episode in France's struggle to balance the laïcité principle with the religious practices of Europe's largest Muslim community.

It follows a popular 2005 ban on religious head-covering in state schools and rising concern over demands from some Muslims for sexual segregation in public swimming pools and sports grounds.

Ms Amara, who is one of the most outspoken members of the Government, said that she deplored all head-cover by Muslim women. “It's just a question of centimetres of fabric,” she said, describing both as symbols of oppression. The headscarf ban has proved highly popular, at least with non-Muslims and teachers.

Last May a judge in Lille caused an uproar when she annulled the marriage of a couple because the bride had falsely told her Muslim husband that she was a virgin. On orders from Mr Sarkozy, the State has appealed against that decision. The “burka case” is seen by some of Mr Sarkozy's opponents as a reflection of his hardline policies over immigration as Interior Minister and then President.

Leaders of France's Muslim establishment played down the ruling and said they feared that it would stir anti-Muslim feeling. “The refusal of nationality is due to lack of integration,” said Mohammed Moussaoui, the president of the French Council of Muslims.

There are lessons to be learnt from the late Malcom X.
This whole case is telling of a new form of racism “Islamophobia”, which is becoming endemic and the ever increasing vocalism of what I call “House Muslims”.

Adam Deen


Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head there akhi - house Muslims! We carried a report yesterday with a similar notion

so obviously people are seeing an atmosphere of appeasement from 'nominal' Muslims. I'm going to build on your 'house Muslim' designation - very apt.

JazakAllahu khairan


Anonymous said...

so, its a shame that you cannot be bothered to address the two central issue - firstly that it is not a religious obligation and secondly that the attitude toward women inherent in the burka is no more acceptable in western society than toplessness is in Saudi Arabia.

there are also obvious security considerations.

like it or lump it. tom

Anonymous said...

It's illegal to walk around topless in the UK as well.

We in the the West and France (in this case) pride ourselves on the openness, freedom of religion and so forth. However, there are people who don't value these higher freedoms and ideals, that millions have fought and died for, but opt for the 'like it or lump it' prejudice approach. Perhaps you will also like to kick out the orthodox Jews and other communities whose religious dress offends you. Or perhaps Muslim women are particularly distasteful to you and others who express their religious identity are tolerated.

Perhaps if she modified her dress to be a bit more like a Chistian Nun she wouldn'tface the same prejudice.

The French should stop pretending to hold these higher values of marality and be honest about their prejudice.

History and current world affairs has a part to play. The French and other western nations still interfere with other nations. Perhaps if we in the West stayed out of other people's business, others wouldn't have to leave their lands to seek refuge in the West.

KA. London.

Anonymous said...

freedoms, religious or otherwise, are not unlimited and never were. should we allow the Aztec's to rip the still beating hearts out of sacrificial victims using their obsidian knives? if not, why not?

nuns are "married to christ" and are a celibate group of women. none have blown themselves up or lent their clothes to terrorists. most importantly, they are part of our culture.

its worth noting that nuns are not allowed in saudi arabia. why not?

the burka symbolises an unacceptable attitude to women.

the 99.9% who abhor Burkas have rights too, and they outweigh yours. just as with the Aztecs.

there is no problem with the 99+% of muslim women who do not wear the Burka.

now tell me where in the quran this alleged religious obligation is defined.

put up or shut up.