Muslim Students in USA and Canada oppose French Hijab Ban


With French President Jacques Chirac's decision to ban religious insignia from schools, the Muslim Students Association (MSA) of the US and Canada is calling upon people of conscience to join them in protesting this infringement upon liberty and religious tolerance. The MSA of the US and Canada (MSA) believes that President Chirac's ban on religious wear - which specifically targets Muslim females who wear hijab - signals one of the greatest setbacks for freedom and democracy in France since it became one of the democratic powers of the world. To deny a woman her God-given right to freely practice her religion does not only constitute a violation of her personal freedom, but it defies the very concept of secularism. By officially prohibiting religious practices that have no correlation with state functions, President Chirac is leading France down a dangerous path of banning the acts of the religiously devout in the name of secularism.

MSA is calling upon President Chirac to rescind his order, which jeopardizes the religious rights of all schoolchildren in the state of France to dress according to their religious mandates without discrimination, fear or legal persecution. By curtailing the religious rights of its citizens, France is consequently jeopardizing the most cherished and fundamental principle of its foundation, liberty.

A woman's decision to wear hijab is a personal and private matter, which reflects her commitment to God and her desire not to expose her hair and body to strange men. To claim that a woman's decision to dress modestly in public somehow infringes upon the rights of others around her defies common sense and raises questions as to the real motive behind this proscription. "As an American Muslim, my decision to wear hijab does not conflict with being both an American and a Muslim. The hijab is simply my personal desire to observe God's commandments of modesty," said Lina Hashem, Vice President USA MSA.

MSA will join the international day of protest in conjunction with human rights, civil rights and religious organizations around the world on Jan. 17, 2004. The protest will take place in cities where French consulates reside including: Washington, DC; Atlanta, GA; Houston, TX; Miami, FL; San Francisco, CA; and New York City, NY. A 48-hour call-in and email campaign will precede the protest, as all participating organizations will ask their members to call or email the French consulates to vocalize their opposition to the ban on religious wear in schools.

CONSULATES OF FRANCE IN THE UNITED STATES

EMBASSY OF FRANCE IN CANADA

EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LISTINGS FOR FRANCE



What: An International Day of Protest Against President Chirac's Hijab Ban

Where: French Consulates in the United States

When: Jan. 17, 2004, Saturday

Who: Muslim Students in the United States and Canada

Contact: Tareq Elgawhary, MSA President - 240-505-7850.

Hadia Mubarak, Political Action Task Force Vice Chair - 202-213-7608

Ismail Kamal, Outreach Director - 202-431-1505


The Muslim Students Association of the US and Canada

http://www.msa-national.org


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  40 Comments   Comment

  1. Ashroff from USA

    While I think it is a noble idea to protest the French ban, I am also indifferent at the actions of the muslims in general. We do not protest the Hijab ban in muslim countries but we protest at other western countries. You are aware that the day Egypt banned the hijab for its newscasters in TV, Sweden permitted hijab for its muslim TV newscaster. Don't you think we must protest and criticize the actions of our own muslim governments before we start preaching to the west. We must also learn to praise the actions of Sweden. See what is happening in Turkey. Naturally, France must be thinking if Muslim countries do not care for hijab, why must France care for it.

  2. Ahmed from UK

    Come now Mr.Ward, you know full well why you've been cateorized as an Islamophobe, unless ofcourse you've disavowed yourself from your previous statements.

    As for your patronizing take on my "anger," obviously I have no particular love for the french and their pompous posturing. To me, keeping silent when wars both cultural and militarist are launched based on ficticious propaganda is a far worse sin than being "angry" could ever be.

  3. Christopher Ward from USA

    Wow Ahmed! I agreed with you that the ban was discriminatory and I am still and Islamaphobe? Sounds kinda weird. I can tell you are very angry and I am sad for that. Anger is a sin that often leads to evil acts. You may need to do a self check and see if this anger may be actually separating you from your God. I doubt he would want you to be this angry. Good luck in your struggle to let women cover their heads. I encourage you to also struggle against your anger and try to live a rightous life.

  4. Ahmed from UK

    Mr.Ward, feeling good to see our anger at this fiasco are you? Nothing like hearing it straight from the horse's mouth, or in your case the Islamophobes mouth. I remember vividly how "upset" people like you were at the Taliban for not letting girls go to school.

    You're missing the point, Muslim woman don't need your permission to do anything, let alone what they can wear. Arguments in support of this ban are poor, regressive and ultimately nothing but a reflection of the fear and hatred Europeans have of people who dont "fit" in, so to speak.

    Our sisters will continue to wear hijab anytime, anyplace as they please. The french and all those seek to emulate their failed example can quite honestly go to hell.

  5. muslimah from USA

    Excuse me for my ignorance, but I do not see the difference between what France did and what Turkey has done for decades. I would like the two countries to be condemned in the same way, after all they both ban hijab at school, and Turkey has gone a step further not allowing women to work with hijab. There was also a time when a Muslim woman with hijab was elected to public office in Turkey, and they prevented her to serve in the government. I have not seen much movement and mobilization at the time. Why is that?

    I agree we should not be silent when there is injustice, but I would like Muslims to be more consistent.

  6. Mallam Hamza from prayer

    Assalamu Alaikum

    am here by praying for ur success in what u r in i prayer may ALLAH help us in all our strive to see that islam is immproving all over the world Wassalam

  7. Hassan from United States

    Allah will not let the muslim women in France go without Hijab.

  8. Hameed Abdul from Canada

    There is no doubt that France is being influenced by the enemies of Islam. This is the begining of the movement in France. Enemies will fan the fire and later blame them as 'Fundamentalist'.

    President of France should re-think it over and lift the ban on Hijab.

    May The Al-Mighty give the right sense those who got influenced.

    Amin.

    Hameed Abdul

  9. Christopher Ward from USA

    At first I kinda agreed with the French leader but then after much thinking I am not really sure. It is discriminatory to not let the women wear this and I do think it is quite ironic that a girl could wear hip hugger pants to school but not cover her head to be modest. I think what some muslim people may not realize is that the French leader is probably not really against the wearing of this head covering but what it might lead to. In a couple of postings it was mentioned the verses in the Quran about why a woman should cover her head. It also says they should not look at men and that they should walk lightly so as not to be noticed. It is likely that the French president's logic is something like this. If we allow them to wear the head covering they will then want to not have to look at boys or to be in classes with boys and then they will want to quit gym so as not to run and call attention to themselves. They will shake up our current educational system that has worked for many years to suit themselves. I think he is unsure where this will end. Remember, he is not saying you cannot practice Islam in your home or in the public market place, simply not in school. I could be wrong about his reasoning. On a lighter note it is quite charming to see how fired up you people get, how you quote the Quran, and how you seem to be dipping into anger. I hope things work out for you all.

  10. Hassenjee from Mauritius

    Alhamduillah, there are organizations like the MSA who can voice out their opinions and fight for Muslims rights. My concern is what is the difference between a nun wearing a calf and the hijab. If you look closely at the two dresses, there is no big difference between the two, yet people fo not argue of how a religious catholic nun dresses. This is truly a fight towards Islam, the true and only religion.

  11. Dr.Abdul Aziz from Malaysia

    I fully support your protest and would go one step further to urge the ummah to boycott French products until Chirac reverses his head scarf ban. Inshallah we have Allah on our side and Allah never loses.

  12. Towfeeq Ibn Hassan Ibn Mohamed from United States

    I truly feel this is a wicked act against muslims. Islam is obviously a target throughout the entire world, and with all thats going on around the world, the french prime minister/president is adding more salt into global politics against Islam. Why is wearing hijab a threat anyway? Does the french prime minister know the purpose of hijab? In conclusion, the prime minister of France, needs to think about the aftermath of this unjustice.

  13. Yahya Bergum from USA

    Praise be to Allah for the establishment and maintenance of the Muslim Students Association. May Allah reward MSA members for their good deeds and intentions.

  14. Mohamed from Origin : France - Actual : Turkey Istanbul

    Aoudhou Billahi min achaitni ar Rajim - Bismillahi ar Rahmani ar Rahim

    Wa As Salam Alaykoum wa Rahmatoullahi wa Barakatouhou Brothers and sisters,

    Unfortunately this decision is not only presidential but more the last step used by a part of non Muslims who intend to erased totally the whole religious spirit non only Muslim to be free to do what they want.

    No kippa no cross no scalf at the school but welcome to the minishirt and more and more......

    But it will be the most important mistake of these 3 last centuries in France because it will open by the intolerance the door to the violence and the clash beetwen the Muslim communauty and the non Muslims.

    And what will be able to do the French

    government ?

    He won't be able to put one policeman behind each muslim ?

    So those who like the peace one root of the word Islam will be very disturbed.

    To be honnest I am very afraid of what can happen

    Wa as Salam Alaykoum wa Rahmatoullahi wa Barakatouhou

  15. Jibreel from U.S.A.

    I totally agree with the brother K2. We are quick to talk against anyone but all of the 'Muslim' countries, have very little civil rights, and when Turkey banned the Hijab I heard little protest against it, why? Because it is a so called 'Muslim' country, please! Even if ONE sister is dennied wearing her hijab, we should all be outraged. Lets unite and stop the ban on hijab in France and everywhere.

  16. Ahmed from UK

    I think you're confused K2. What gives you the impression that Muslims dont condemn what happens in Muslim countries ? Sounds like the kind tripe promoted by right wing degenerates who claim Muslims are silent on terrorism.

    Lets make it plain and simple, we are against ALL dictatorship and wrongdoings ALL the time, not otherwise like the low lives who have no standards.

    I cant say I'm shocked and surprised at the way the French are, Europeans have been fighting each other for hundreds of years, their criminal empires shattered with the end of the second world war. The only reason they've managed to mend their fences is because the center of power has shifted to the US.

    Today, they get their kicks by harrasing minorities and kicking up some dust in their former colonies. A fine reflection of failed culture with nothing in common but petty intolerance.

  17. k2 from USA

    We Muslims are never outraged at other Muslims wrong actions but are quick to critisize the West.

    Maybe next we can also be as outraged when Muslim countries like Turkey outlaw women from wearing scarves in Universities or when Saudia Arabia outlaws women from driving or when the Taliban prohibit women from getting an education.

    What the French are proposing is wrong but how about our own house? Is it in order?

  18. muslimah from USA

    Romesh Chander and all those who bring up Saudi Arabia as the model of a Muslim country, you are wrong. Saudi Arabia is certainly not a model for how a Muslim country should be. They violate the civil rights of their citizens and have a monarchy, which is so against Islam. Most Muslims dislike the harsh laws and the legal process of that country, I wouldn't want to live there, although I love the land and the good people that live there.

    You talk about bikini's, but what about the right to walk in the general public naked or topless, why isnt it allowed in America? Isn't that an abuse of ones' civil rights? No, it isn't. There are decency laws in this country, and although the standards of decency have been steadily declining, there is still some decency left. So, the difference between the west and east is that the east has held on to the values the west has let go.

  19. Fatima Ra'uf from USA

    I think it is appalling that this Chirac person would even have the adacity to voice such as he did. There is a covert Crusade going on against Muslims and many are not even aware of it. Once this catches on, many other so-called free Western countries will join in with Cherac and make the same proclamations, "in the name of freedom". Not only should all Muslims, worlwide boycott all french goods, but french Muslims should especially boycott France and not spend one franc, dollar, etc. on anything french or anything in France. If the French Muslim community is the largest in Europe, then let France feel how important the Muslim presence is. The only way to hurt these anti-Islamic, Western regimes/governments, is economically. It is the only thing that they understand.

    So, I call on all Muslims to cease spending any money on any product from France. Why should we support oppression against Muslims and against Islam?

  20. ABDUL MATIN from UK

    When Muslims ruled the world, we never stopped non-Muslims practising their religion. Even Muslim ruler allowed setting up place of worship and seperate court of law for the non-Muslims. I ask Mr Chirac to read the history of Sultan Sulaiman ( Magnificent Sulaiman) of Atoman Empire.

  21. Ahmed from UK

    Ah yes, no article would be complete without Romesh "hindu fanatic" Chander's asinine commentary.

    Still trying to link Saudi Arabia with this are you ? Tell me BJP boy, since when are bikini's a religious obligation ? Its fair to say you're willing to make an idiot out of yourself just to thumb your nose at Muslims facing an evil assault on their faith. To people like you civil rights are a mystery still as millions of "lower caste" Hindus can attest to.

    Maybe Idi Amin was on to something when he had all those Indians tossed out of Uganda back in 70s hmmmmm...oh did I hit a raw there ?

  22. Mat from Malaysia

    Saudi Arabia is not a democratic nation, as you can see Romesh. They can scott free because those sultans kiss the Washington asses. And I guess no full hijab woman, can enter the Vatican.

  23. Romesh Chander from US

    Some people are talking about Hijab as a civil right. I wonder whether a woman could exercise her civil right to walk in a bikini in the streets of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia? I am sure I could find plenty of Saudi women who would love to do that; saudi women are no different than women in any other country.

  24. HijabiMuslimah from USA

    ...Ahmed:

    you made some great points and I agree with what you said...

    I also agree with others that said Muslims have to lash out etc etc.

    In my area there is no French ambassy OR a very big Muslim community and Masjid (150-200 small families) but there is an MSA.

    I wrote to the president who Alhamdulillah happens to be my Islamic school teacher 🙂

    and he will Insha'Allah be able to organize something on Jan 17th.

    In the mean time, I think all of us Muslims should get the word out..even to NONMuslims to campaign against this decision AS HARD AS YOU CAN! we need to show them that we're not going to take any crap from them and we need all the help we can get.

    This could be the beginning of the Muslim Ummah reshaping itself Insha'Allah!

    ALLAHU AKBAR!!!

  25. AbdulMukim from ph

    Salammulaikom warahmatullah

    Mr. president chirac is acting like an ignorant he dit not know the meaning of wearing hijab he must study first the princple of islam through hijab so that he will understand well.. this is sign of failure and panatic and also this is the act of no faith and belief without spiritual guidance... hope insha'allah they will learn about islam and wearing hijab... God Allah Bless all muslim around the world...

  26. Zaher Sahloul from USA

    Here we are again Oh Salaheddin. Jacques Chirac

  27. Ahmed

    g.t.'s infantile responce is amusing. Churches in Saudi Arabia in exchange for Muslim woman's hijabs in France. No deal, Islamophobe.

    I dont see the need for churches in Saudi Arabia, atleast not until all bellicose talk of "crusades" and so forth continues. They have no laws preventing people from practicing their faith. Given the behavior of christian fanatics like you, its best for you to stay within the confines of your own failed culture.

    As for the Hijab issue, it is a matter of civil rights when French woman are being denied education and employment for being practising Muslims. Outright blackmail and anti-Islamic propaganda is what this is about. Its not going to work. A fine relection of failed societys which claim to be democratic.

    So there is no link between the two scenarios you raised and pathetically tried to link.

    Further more, nobody cares about your lack of interest in the affairs of Muslim civil rights in the west or elsewhere. I'd bet stalgamites like you dont care about anybody else's condition.

    ....

  28. Sam Ganam from USA

    Asalamu Alaikum brothers and sisters,

    It is truly a shocker to learn that Chirac, the President of France, has legislated the ban on the wearing of Hijab. I know one thing for sure, and that is when one gets pushed too far, one has nothing else go do but lash back. Muslims are no exception. Many look at Islam as an ideology whereare it is a faith. Communism and socialism are two ideologies which have been somewhat defeated. The difference between ideology and religion is that the former is subject to change or even defeat whereas the latter is not. Religion stays the same through ages and territories. It seems to me that Chirac has not studied enough about Islam; if he did, he would be the first one to support it rather than alienate it.

    Why do people look at Islam as a threat? I advise all those who do not want to associate themselves with Islam to study this unique faith. Hijab is no more than a way to protect onself from the perverted and warped attitude of the lustful. It is also another way to protect the viability of a healthy society, but again the porn industry and the perverted fashion industries will do everything to alienate our Muslim sisters. You would think that people would revere the Muslim women as they do the Christian nuns, but hypocrisy is the deal of the day until a new dawn of awakening springs to embrace us all. One thing I have to say here and that is the Muslim states have failed us, and this is what we get at the end: we get driven out of our cherished homelands because most Muslim leaders are nothing but blood suckers. They need to go today before tomorrow because they have done nothing honorable in our name, nothing.

    Thank you for the article.

  29. Bakr, O. S from Nigeria

    If the French President do not want Muslims worldwide to feel that he is against Islam, he should lift this ban. With this ban, France is giving another name to democracy;dictatorship.

    He should listen to the voice of reason.

    The hijab is a fundamental and important part of a muslim woman's dressing.

    Banning the use of hijab mean no freedom of worship and religion. People are being restricted from practicing their religion.

    The president should not put his country into Quos.

  30. S. Kashif Haque from USA

    Salaam aleikum,

    While this boycott is a nice idea and may allow people to vent some frustrations and show solidarity with the Muslims in France, we do a disservice to this issue without studying the larger cause of Western coexistence with Muslims and Islam INSIDE their own countries. Furthermore, one *major* issue in all of this is the so-called "fatwa" by the highest "sheikh" at Al-Azhar supporting the French govt. (something our friends at Fox news never fail to mention). Here is the source:

    http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/711DA539-898A-43E2-9F3D-85DF43B62 4CD.htm

    salaam aleikum,

    skh

  31. Bashirat Adedeji from Nigeria

    Hijab! Our Pride

    The Honourable Garment Prescribed by

    the Creator(swt)

    For The Honourable Women In Islam

    Its a Protector of Muslim Women's Dignity

    The Garment Not Worthy of Molestation For the pious Women in Islam to Show Their Islamic Identity.

    Hijab! is Neither the Garment of Enslavement

    Nor a Garment Bondage But a Liberated Garment

    The Covering of Our Adornment and Beauties to Guide Our Modesty and Have Eternal Felicity.

    Hijab! A Protective Garment that Save Womanhood from Bastardization and Build a Peaceful Society.

    The Garment of the Believing Women For the Queens of Responsible Homes To Be the Queens of Eternal Home.

    Hijab! The Crown of the Believing Queens Who Are Spiritually Guided To Preach to the Entire Women.

  32. Adam Ibrahim Muhammad from Nigeria.

    Even though I may not be part of the active participants, you can bet I will be with the protestors in spirit. My support is 100% May Allah reward those that struggle in his path, Ameen.

    In fact it is time that the whole world realise that enough is enough in the attempt by so call "Freedom Nations" to keep trampling with Allah's injuctions. A woman wanting to cover her modesty is prevented from doing that while a whore is allowed to walk the street in her bikini! What an irony. And they say this is the true civilisation. God forbid.

  33. zaher from USA

    Now France is showing its real face. A face of anti-islamism, a face of hypocracy and face of arrogance. The so-called pioneers of "democracy and human rights" don't believe that Muslims deserve democarcy nor human rights. Even animals are treated with more respect than Muslims in France. Or is it just a continuation of the Crusader war against Islam. I can hear Mr. Chiraque: "Here we are again, Salaheddin!!"

  34. g.t. from usa

    let's build churches in saudi arabia. then i might listen to these gripes. until then, it's really hard to care about "oppressed" muslims in the west.

  35. Tala Kouly from Syria

    Je suis tout a fait contre cette decision parcequ'elle est contradictoire et injuste en ce qui concerne la Liberte individuelle que les Francais et la France reclame toujours.

  36. Aneesa from USA

    right on ahmed! I just wish there were more places to protest... some of my friends cant protest cuz they cant drive and their parents dont care much

  37. Asif Raza from USA

    "And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss." (24:31)

    "O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (33:59)

    These are the Allah's commands...I rather die than bowing kufars. And my brothers and sister from Atlanta please come out of your houses on January 17 on the call of MSA. We got to tell these cowards that nothin can separate us...show your love to sisters and mothers in France...that we are with them...and inshallah no matter how many laws they put on us....they can't stop Islam.

    Allah u Akbar

  38. Romesh Chander from US

    Well, Muslim students in Canada and US can't vote in France, so their protests are going to fall on deaf ears in France. Can't they figure out something more effective? Don't ask me to help you in this endeavour; I am not the one who is opposing it.

    Note to Ahmed:

    You are asking "feminists" to help you for getting the right of muslim women to wear hijab!. Seems to me you have no concept of feminism. They hate Hijab. They rather take off clothes in public and walk nude in the street than wear hijab. So, they can't support muslim women in this endeavour.

  39. Ahmed from UK

    So where are all those arrogant self-righteous femenists and propagandists for "oppressed" Muslim woman ? Why the silence ? Arent you concerned about Muslim woman being denied education, and work....remember the big bad Taliban ? Reality check folks, femenists are all this ban.

    Dont hold your breath, we wouldnt expect less from the likes of degenerates who hate Islam.

    Besides, a boycott of french goods, the french language should be removed from education cirriculums in Islamic countries. Bigoted and failed cultures like these should be shunned completely.