A new law restricting the use of the hijab in public that has begun to be implemented in France is feared to spread Islamophobia.
According to the French government, the new controversial bill was made to overcome the danger of Islamic separatism as the bill passed by the National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament, on Friday.
Although it aims to protect republican values, some critics, including Amnesty International, argue that it can limit freedom of association and expression, increase discrimination, and even affect mosques’ construction.
Earlier this month, the EU court legally allowing the EU companies to ban Muslim employees from wearing hijab and niqab in workplaces under certain conditions.
Here are 3 French Muslim women, whose names have been changed, talking about their fear of Islamophobia.
Aisha, a mother of five who lives on the outskirts of Paris, said there was a ban on ostentatious religious symbols in school when she was 14 years old.
She recalls how she was called to the disciplinary committee after she refused to remove her headscarf. Then they proceed to accused her of being a part of the FIS (The Algerian resistance movement), even though she’s Morrocan. She said she felt violated by the demand to undress.
Noura, a mother of three and a university researcher that lives in Paris, told how she was being asked to leave her son’s school outing in 2019 because she was wearing a headscarf. Even the police called to the scene told her to leave, saying that France is a secular country. She felt so humiliated and cried that day, added that she no longer sees a future there.
Hiba Latreche, 22-year-old general secretary and vice-president of Femyso, the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations, and a law student, said that as a Muslim woman hijab, she was often facing Islamophobia. She disappoints that the legislators make it legal and strengthen it institutionally, making it more systemic instead of protecting them from this hate crime.
Hiba and several other Muslim women run the “Don’t touch my hijab” campaign, which went viral and even received support from high-profile Muslim women such as Olympic athlete Ibtihaj Muhammad and the Somali-born model Rawdah Mohammed.