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Ed Webb

Unveil Them to Save Them: France and the Ongoing Colonization of Muslim Women's Bodies - 0 views

  • French authorities’ attempts to police Muslim women’s bodies have their roots in the history of colonization, especially in the Maghreb
  • During the colonial period, French colonizers wanted Algerian women to remove their veils and embrace the French lifestyle. Today, French political culture wants Muslim women to do the same thing.
  • Frantz Fanon’s classic essay “Algeria Unveiled” shows us the centrality of Algerian women to the colonial project. In the colonialist fantasy, to possess Algeria’s women is to possess Algeria. For French colonizers, the veil signified Muslim culture and tradition. So, colonial administrators insisted that it had to be abandoned. This significance was due to the role colonized women could play in assimilating colonized families and societies. The same scenario is seen today, as assimilating veiled women into the non-veiled population is considered a way to prevent their “radicalization” and that of their families.
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  • Under French colonization, Muslim Maghrebi women were persuaded, paid, or forced to remove their veils and to adopt the slogan, “Let’s be like the French woman.” Today, Muslim French women are told they are not French enough if they cover their hair. Today, they too are asked to shed their veils in order to be “like the French woman,” even though France is their home and place of birth.
  • Similar to the French colonizers who forgot that forced unveiling was the real incarnation of sexist inferiority, the masculine French state of today ignores that policing women’s bodies is undeniable proof of misogyny and oppression.
Ed Webb

Tolerance Eases Impact of French Ban on Full-Face Veils - NYTimes.com - 0 views

  • Defenders of the law, which has been popular with the public, said that France needed to protect its “republican values” of secularism in the public space; many also said that France’s Muslims, immigrants and French-born, must accept French norms. Some said that the law protected Muslim women from religious extremism and gave them freedom of choice, rather than taking it away.
  • when he visits London, Mr. Henniche said, the first thing he notices is the number of women wearing the niqab walking freely on the streets. “I think, ‘Whoa, it’s an open country, English people are open,’ ” he said. “Such tolerance is a good thing.”
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