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A Breakdown Of France’s Hijab Ban

France votes to ban the wearing of the hijab in public for those under the age of 18, and to ban those accompanying children on school trips from wearing the hijab as it continues its ongoing restrictions on Muslims. This may be shocking to some, but unsurprising to those who are living in France and experience Islamophobia in their daily lives.

In today’s video, TMJ Journalist Fatima Al Sayed breaks down the hijab ban, what it exactly is, who it impacts and why this is not being talked about. This newscast also features those who are living in France and are directly affected by the ban.


The vote to ban hijab in France doesn’t just impact Muslim women- it could mean a future ban of churches, temples, or synagogues and the annihilation of any form of religious expression.

From the Muslims Journalists, I’m Fatima Al-Sayed.

*cue music*

The French senate vote which took place on Tuesday March 30 will ban women under 18 from wearing a hijab. But, that’s not the extent of it. This ban also obliges mothers accompanying their children on school trips to take off the hijab and bans burkinis in public pools.

majority of senate members voted in favour of the anti-separation bill. If it is confirmed by the National Assembly, this bill will become Law.

The bill is being justified under a set of laws that is supposedly going to fight Islamist ideologies and radical Islam.

This of course normalizes discrimination against visible Muslim women.

By weaving discrimination against veiled women into the laws of the country, they are further perpetuating islamophobia and racism against this minority.

Senate member Bruno Retailleu describes hijab as “sexist”, and a “marker of the submission of women” and “the banner of separatism”.

Retailleau continues to say the veil (hijab) “characterises the claim of the Islamist ideologists to impose on us a counter-society, separate from the national community”

And this here is the issue. There is a fear of the threat of a visible form of religious expression imposing “Islamist ideologies” to create a counter-society.

So, let’s break this down.

What is a counter-society? Right now we are experiencing a clash of civilizations. Liberalists and secularists see freedom through the oriental euro-centric lens. This lens views freedom as a bodily, worldly freedom. Muslims and other religious individuals view freedom through God by committing to a spiritual freedom where they’ve committed to a way of lifestyle under their religious belief.

Liberalists and secularists will always see hijab as a form of oppression but for Muslim women, hijab is a commitment in which they are adhering to a certain lifestyle in order to perfect their inner-spirituality which leads to the ultimate liberation.

Although the most recent ban is mostly targeting hijab, this is not just affecting Muslims. This kind of ban allows countries to limit religious expression of any kind under the guise of eradicating extremism. This takes away a fundamental right of any visible form of worship of Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims alike. To be on the other side of this and experience your cross, bindi, dastar or kippah being stripped away from you in public places threatens any form of religious tolerance in the future. It is the beginning of the annihilation of religious freedom. Today it’s the hijab but tomorrow it can be the ban of churches or the ban of religious holidays such as Christmas or Easter.

These forms of expressions and religious holidays are held sacred and close to the heart of religious believers just like the hijab is close the to hearts of many Muslim women. Instead of liberating women from covering and wearing the hijab, this law obliges them to take it off, against their own free will, in order to work, go to school, beaches, or even attend their children’s school trips.

What matters most is how people who live in Countries like France are being personally affected by these bills and laws.

Let’s hear some of their thoughts.

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  • Fatima El-Zein

    Fatima El-Zein is Lead Producer at TMJ News where she aims to bring more awareness about her community through storytelling. El-Zein grew up in Toronto, where she completed her undergraduate degree in Journalism at the University of Toronto and also received a diploma in Journalism from Centennial College. She has worked extensively for CBC News before moving to the United States.

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