The aim of the amendment is to outlaw wearing the hijab in public spaces for women under the age of 18. -
Rabat – As issues of Islamophobia continue to feature in France’s headlines, the French senate voted for what many are calling a “separatism bill” that includes strict laws against Muslims on March 30.
After the vote, some politicians called for stricter measures, and proposed an amendment that would ban Muslim minors from wearing the hijab in public spaces.
The amendment stresses the “prohibition in the public space of any conspicuous religious sign by minors and of any dress or clothing which would signify an inferiorization of women over men.”
If the French Parliament accepts it, the bill, officially titled “Strengthening the respect of the principles of the Republic,” will make it illegal for Muslim women under the age of 18 to wear the hijab in public. It will also make it illegal for mothers who wear the hijab to accompany their children on school trips, as well as for women to swim in a burkini, a full-body swimsuit.
The issue of hijab prohibition in France is not new. Shortly after President Nicolas Sarkozy announced in June 2009 that religious headscarves — hijab — were “unwelcome” in France, the French Parliament launched an initial inquiry. The rule, according to Sarkozy, intended to shield women from being forced to cover their faces while also upholding France’s secular principles.
However, after the announcement of new restrictive anti-Muslim laws in France as part of the separatism bill, social media users and influencers responded angrily to the situation with many of them using the “hands off my hijab” hashtag.
French-Moroccan inffluencer Hanan Houachmi said, “I don’t understand how, in 2021, in a developed country, we are still talking about how a woman should dress.”
A social media user wrote on Twitter, “Currently in France there has been a ban put for Muslim women under the age of 18 to not wear a Hijab in public. Although this bill isn’t new they are arguing it would ‘help’ young Muslim women and stop them from feeling pressured to wear something that is THEIR choice to make.”
This is not the first time that France has attempted to regulate Muslim women’s clothing. The country has restricted female students from wearing the hijab and niqab in public schools since 2004.
All of these restrictions led to a greater focus on Islamophobia in France.
A post on Twitter said, “First France bans full-body swimwear, which is what most Muslims wear, then they ban halal slaughter of poultry, and now women can’t even wear the hijab and let their mothers accompany them on field trips…THIS IS BLATANT ISLAMOPHOBIA.”
Another social media user expressed frustration by saying, “The ban of the hijab in France comes down to two things: Islamophobia and the extreme right’s need to regulate women’s bodies and what they can and cannot wear, they justify all of it with secularism and pat themselves on the back thinking they saved ‘oppressed women’.”
Many people argued collectively over how practicing or representing their faith in any dress would not affect other people in any way.
One of the posts said, “Women who wear hijabs are not allowed to accompany their children on school trips. Hijab is not a threat. It is wrong to make it illegal for a mother to go with her child on a field trip because of a hijab. They are following their religion, and they are in no way causing harm.”
The national motto of France is “liberty, equality, fraternity.” However, many observers do not see France as being liberal in outlawing the hijab, instead seeing it as a mark of Islamophobia.