Hijab Day Paris to condemn women assassination for refusing the dress code

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‘In the name of women assassinated for refusing the dress code, I want to scream’: Algerian feminists respond to French ‘Hijab Day’

Algerian feminists have responded furiously to the controversial French ‘Hijab Day’ held last Wednesday at an elite Paris university.

The backlash came as Sciences Po University invited classmates to wear the Muslim head scarf for a day to raise awareness of the treatment of hijab-wearing women.

One woman said they wanted to ‘scream my revolt’ against the day while another questioned why veiled women’s rights should be highlighted over the plight of non-veiled women around the world.

The Hijab Day event was held in the wake of Prime Minister Manuel Valls’ controversial statement that he wished to ban all forms of religious headscarves at French universities.

France Hijab day
France Hijab day

Marieme Helie Lucas, the Algerian founder of ’Secularism Is A Women’s Issue’, argued that ‘the right to veil’ in France was already ‘well defended’.

She claimed more focus needed to give to non-veiled women who were being abused around the world, citing Nigerian girls who were ‘forcibly converted, veiled and sold as slaves’ by the militant Islamic group Boko Haram’ and Iraqi women ‘at the hands’ of ISIS or ‘Daesh’.

She wrote on The Alliance for Workers’ Liberty website: ‘Who, today in France, defends the right not to veil when it is needed?

Ms. Lucas added: ‘Who defended it when Algerian women were slaughtered by armed fundamentalist groups in the 1990s? Who does what today for the Nigerian girls forcibly converted, veiled and sold as slaves by Boko Haram and who are still held by them. Or for the Iraqi women at the hands of Daesh?

She added: ‘Why so many voices for veiled women’s rights and so few for non-veiled ones, be they Muslim believers or not?’

Hijab Day organiser Laetitia Demaya
Hijab Day organiser Laetitia Demaya

Meanwhile, Lalia Ducos, President of the Women’s Initiative for Citizenship and Universal Rights (WICUR), added that by considering veiled women the ‘only “representatives” of Islam’ people ran the risk of discriminating against Muslim women who do not veil.

She spoke of the Algerian women killed by fundamentalist groups during the Algerian civil war in the 1990s, with the death toll – including men – estimated to be 200,000 people.

She wrote: ‘In the name of all the Algerian women who were assassinated for refusing the dress code diktat, I want to scream my revolt against this “day” organized by the very students who are supposed to become the elite in our country.

‘It is not acceptable that veiled women be discriminated against, however, by confusing religion and culture, by considering veiled women as the only “representatives” of Islam, one runs the risk of discriminating against the vast majority of Muslim women who do not veil and who struggle for the separation between religion and politics, i.e. for secularism, and for the universality of rights.’

Algerian women who were assassinated for refusing the dress code diktat
Algerian women who were assassinated for refusing the dress code diktat

Ms. Ducos added: ‘The veil is conceived of, first and foremost, as a flag that makes fundamentalists more visible: it is mostly political, just as the clothes are worn by those men mimicking the Taliban are.

‘Islamist fundamentalism is a totalitarian ideology that manipulates Islam towards political ends.’

The women’s comments come nearly a week after Hijab Day – which the day’s Facebook page stated would help students taking part to ‘experience the stigmatization experienced by veiled women in France’.

‘It is to raise awareness, open the debate and give the floor to women who are often debated on in public but rarely heard,’ said Laetitia Demaya, one of the organizers.

France got 99 problems but hijab aint one
France got 99 problems but hijab aint one
Philosopher and author Bernard-Henri Levy tweeted: ‘Hijab Day at Sc Po. When will there be a sharia day? Stoning? Slavery?’

‘This is a provocation and we denounce the religious character of the event,’ Carla Sasiela, the head of the UNI student union, told The Local.

Her group said the event is a ‘total contradiction of the values of the Republic and the respect for women’s rights’.

Writing on its Facebook page, the student wing of the far-right National Front (FN) criticised an initiative coming from a ‘Parisian middle class disconnected from social reality’.

Source Daily Mail Article: (Algerian feminists respond to French ‘Hijab Day’)

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