The French Ban on Hijab Sends the Wrong Message

Category: Europe, World Affairs Topics: Europe Views: 8015

While history has always fascinated me, European history puzzles me. The latter is a history of violence and intolerance against the 'other' people, irrespective of whether or not the victims lived inside or outside Europe. It is a history of Crusade, Inquisition, pogroms and holocaust. Like the sand dunes in a desert, the killing fields of victims have often shifted, but the root cause of violence against the 'other' people has always remained the same. Like many students of history, I expected Europe, especially after the crushing defeat of Hitler's Nazi and Mussolini's Fascist forces in 1943-5, to evolve into a pluralistic, multi-cultural, civilized society: a society where the basic rights of all human beings, irrespective of one's religion, language, color, culture, ethnicity, caste and creed are respected and protected. But my expectations have always been viciously choked. 

Truly, who would have thought that mankind would witness so much of ethnic cleansing - uprooting of a people from its ancestral homes simply because of his/her religion or ethnicity, some fifty years after the end of the Second World War? Yet, that is what happened in the former Yugoslavia in the last decade. A quarter million Muslims - the 'other' people - were brutally murdered, and another million displaced from their ancestral homes (some still living as refugees elsewhere). Not a single Muslim home, school, office or mosque was spared from willful destruction. Europe let this monstrous crime against humanity, a calculated genocide, happen in its backyard! Here again, as much as it was true during the Jewish Holocaust, Europe was guilty of non-assistance to the 'other' people. It imposed a criminal embargo that rewarded the aggressors and barred the victims from defending themselves. In all fairness, Europe may be accused of wanting to sign the suicide notes for Bosnia and Kosovo had it not been for the resolve of the 'other' people to fight to the end.

Looking at the rising tide of Fascism, anti-Semitism, anti-immigrant movements and the ever-increasing violent crimes against Arabs and Muslims, it seems Europe is still not ready to take the necessary giant step forward towards a genuine civilization. The seeds of racism are so deeply rooted in their subconscious mind that most European people are unaware of it until it emerges when put to the test. As much as the English people were historically notorious for their racism in matters of color, the French were equally notorious for their cultural racism. To them: everything is kosher/civilized when it is done French-style. 

Most French people have long been traumatized for being kicked out from Algeria 40 years ago. French conservatives, in particular, regard Islam - the religion of the Algerian people - as their enemy and hijab as its icon. They raise chauvinistic slogans that hijab-clad Muslim women are 'trying to destabilize the country,' that 'they (Muslim immigrants) bear a grudge against the values of the French Republic,' and that 'they want France to no longer be France.'*1 It is an old 'blame-game': you are uncomfortable about public admission of your hatred or bigotry against your neighbor, so you complain about the dress he wears, or the food he eats, or the color of his house, or something else. Similarly, what these French conservatives (like their counterparts - Christian Right, neo-Conservatives - in America) are truly against is pluralism or multi-culturalism - the presence of 'other' people in their midst. The rising number of incidents of violence against immigrant Muslims is a testimony to the fact that 9/11 has further strengthened these xenophobic, racist, anti-immigrant and neo-Fascist elements within the French society. 

It is, therefore, not surprising that France, the Republic that gave us the modern slogans of 'liberty, equality and fraternity,' has now shown her real identity. She has officially banned Muslim veils (hijab) and Jewish skullcaps and "conspicuous" Christian crosses from its public schools. In so doing, France has opted to ignore the basic fact that many Muslim females wear hijab as part of their religious obligation when they are outside their homes. Lumping the hijab with the cross and skullcaps (as if they represent similar things) is, therefore, illogical, if not criminal. 

This official 'hijab-ban' decree will further isolate her Muslim subjects more than any other religious group simply because there are too few Islamic schools in France to cater to their needs. [This, in spite of the fact that France, a nation of sixty million, is now home to nearly five million immigrant Muslims, mostly coming from the former French colonies in North Africa.] What is more disconcerting is that the official ban sends also a wrong message that the French leadership is univocal with its bigoted elements: (saying) no to Islam, no to religious tolerance, no to pluralism or multi-culturalism.

It is a shame on France's secularism that it could not accommodate religious diversity; it had to go after the icon. Even mainstream French politicians insist that loyalty to the French state and its secular ideals comes before any religious observance. Funny that while Christian holidays are observed, there will be no Jewish and Muslim holidays. So much for 'equality' and 'fraternity'! MPs of the ruling party assert that 'most Muslim girls are forced by fundamentalists' to wear the hijab, i.e., they did not wear the hijab freely.*2 That is, the ban will 'liberate' Muslim girls. Even the French progressives consider hijab to be demeaning to women. Too often, the hijab is dismissed as the preserve of Muslim fundamentalists, bent on destroying the West. But they are wrong. This official xenophobia is out of place in a modern, multicultural state. It ignores the basic fact that there are many Muslim women and girls who of their own free will believe that they should wear hijab. They believe that they are being wrongfully discriminated by the state and being denied their right to freedom of religion.

Interestingly, traditional societies have always demanded modesty in dressing for both the sexes. That was how they distinguished themselves from barbarous people. While the form of the dress did vary somewhat depending on the geography, there was always a remarkable resemblance in the dresses worn by respectful women from various religious communities, when they were outside their homes. Such dress codes personified the dignity and superiority of noble women. They also represented a woman's inaccessibility as a sanctified possession of her husband. In Christian tradition, e.g., Paul (of Tarsus) ordered the veil for women. *3 Until the Sixties, no woman would be seen in an English church (and rarely in the streets) without a hat and gloves. This ruling is still followed quite religiously by the Catholic nuns around the globe and Amish people living here in the USA. Many oriental Sephardic and occidental Hasidic women of the Jewish faith also use some forms of headscarf or veil to cover their hair. *4  Hindu and Sikh women are still expected to cover their heads with sari or dopatta (headscarf) for their honor.

History also provides many evidences that those traditional and modest dresses did not hinder many of women folk to excel in their fields. So, in early days of Islam, for instance, we find women in the battlefields, trade and commerce, teaching, and debates. A'isha and Umm Salamah ra, the wives of the Prophet Muhammad , taught thousands of first and second generation of Muslim males and females (sahaba and tabiun). Many of the ahadith in the Sunni hadith books were related by people, like Hisham b. Urwa, who were their students' students. A'isha ra even led a mutiny with Talha and az-Zubayr ra in the Battle of Jamal against the Amir-ul-Mu'mineen. Many of the Islamic rulings are based on ahad (single) hadith, narrated from women like A'isha, Fatima and Umm Salamah ra. Many relators or narrators of hadith were also women. One women, who excelled in Fiqh, corrected Caliph 'Umar ra publicly. Umar ra came back to the minbar and took her correction and spread it among all the Muslims. 

There were women commissioners, judges, poets, and rulers. One of the great scholars of Islam, Ibn 'Asakir (6th century AH) claimed that he had 400 female teachers. And all these Muslim women, from Khadija/A'isha/Umm Salamah to Sultana Razia to Begum Rokeya, were modestly dressed women, who followed the rulings of the Qur'an (24:30-1, 33:59). *5 There are millions of Muslim women professionals today who proudly display their hijab. Hijab has often empowered them. They know their power and value in the Muslim societies that they live in. 

In recent days, the decision, by the French Government to ban hijab in Government-run public institutions, has opened a plethora of debates in the media about hijab. To most women living in the West, the hijab is looked upon as a stain on womanhood, symbolizing female oppression, subjugation, slavery, etc. However, there are others, even some non-Muslims, who look at it as an expression of freedom, status, liberation, fashion, etc.*6

Let me conclude by echoing what the editor of the Toronto Star had said, "Embracing French Muslims, and other groups, as full citizens with full rights is the surest way to a cohesive society. Suppressing minority religious practices will only alienate people, and legitimize those who preach separation, and conflict. The revolutionary nation of libert, galit, fraternit, should be confident enough of itself not to fear a pious child's headgear." *7


Habib Siddiqui

(About the author: Dr. Habib Siddiqui lives in suburban Philadelphia, PA, and is the author of the book Islamic Wisdom. He can be reached at [email protected])


*1 [Editorial: France's unholy fuss, The Toronto Star, December 15, 2003]

*2 [See the remarks of Jacques Myard of the governing centre-right UMP.]

*3  [See Bible, 1 Cor. 11:3-6 and 1 Tim. 2:9-10.]

*4 [See, The Jewish Woman in Rabbinic Literature: A Psychosocial Perspective by Menachem M. Brayer (Hoboken, N.J: Kitav Publishing House (1986); Women In Islam Versus Women In The Judeo-Christian Tradition: The Myth & The Reality by Dr. Sherif Abdel Azeem.]

*5 [The Qur'an mentions the subject of hijab in the verses 24:30-31 and 33:59, where the terms used are Khimar and Jalbab. For meanings to these terms, one may consult Lisan ul-Arab.]

*6 [See, e.g., the article in the Telegraph, UK, written by a Catholic woman from UK, who wears hijab and likes it.]

*7 [The Toronto Star, op. cit.]

  Category: Europe, World Affairs
  Topics: Europe
Views: 8015

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Older Comments:
Actually, in most cases it's not just the hijab that's been banned.. It's all kind of religious symbols; crosses etc. I think the muslims somehow feel that its an attack on them because their mark of faithfulness is a whole lot larger, however, they have yet to realise that its not just them. If a christian can't wear their cross in school, then why should a muslim wear the hijab? It seems rather unfair.

If you want to leave with a headscarf for the
rest of your life and if you seriously think
that God cares about it, fine. Do it, nobody
condamns those who think the earth is flat or
Elvis Presley is still alive.

But first be educated without backward symbols
in a public schools. What matters will be you as
a human being, whatever your gender, your
religion or anything else could be.


I am deeply saddened by the intolerance of France, a 'civilised' european country: it flouts the basic freedom of humans that is so lauded in the West. Are they going to ask the catholic nuns of france to remove head coverings as well??


I am against the hijab ban in France. However, I am so tired of the double standard in our ummah. We expect nations to bow to our every whim, and get upset when they try to ban "islamic" dress, though one never hears Muslims condeming the restrictive dress codes in Saudi Arabia and Iran. Some women would like NOT to wear a hijab/abaya. Don't they have that right as well? Some may say, "well this is the culture of the should go along..." Well gee whiz France could make the same arguement.

yet Another attack on islam! as you said so much for equality and liberty!as long as you look "normal" you are ok in France! for example tight jeans short skirts etc. having spent 5 days in Paris earlier this year i was amazed at my treatment because of my hijab. more so when they realised i was english educated and had thank Allah chosen to be Muslim!the outrage of it all! all i can say is thank God that i live in England where compared to France you are truly free! if this is France's method of causing hatred they are surely succeeding. Good for all who demonstrated long may they live wherever that may be. What the french are forgetting is there are not only catholics in there country now,perhaps they fear islam and its growth.once again thank God for Islam and may God bless all of its followers however impeded they may be.

You guys don't have a problem with hijab, or beard or halal or etc, etc. You have a problem with islam. Like a famous movie quote, "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!"

First of all I want to say I'm against this hijab ban, planned by French goverment.
But I can't help commenting that black-white worldview of the author.Examples...
"Europe let this monstrous crime against humanity, a calculated genocide, happen in its backyard!" Well, I recall not to have met any people favouring Serbia. Public opinion was against Milosevic & co. And wasn't it the bad americans who in this case bombed Serbia to kneel?
Another viewpoint: What happened/happens in East-Timor, south Sudan etc.? I don't go saying "Why do muslims let this happen in their backyard?" I don't sum up all muslims, like the author seems to sum up Europeans.
"Like many students of history, I expected Europe, especially after the crushing defeat of Hitler's Nazi and Mussolini's Fascist forces in 1943-5, to evolve into a pluralistic, multi-cultural, civilized society: a society where the basic rights of all human beings, irrespective of one's religion, language, color, culture, ethnicity, caste and creed are respected and protected. But my expectations have always been viciously choked."
Excuse me, but I think there ain't many places in the world that have come closer to these destinations. Or does the author consider muslim nations of today be closer? Take Iran, Saudi-Arabia as examples: Liberty of speech? Free parlamentary elections, etc? Europe is far from being perfect, it has severe problems, but still I think it is ahead in these fields mentioned earlier.And many muslim fundamentalists have cursed democracy, treat it like an enemy to be crushed.Why does the author flag for these ideals, or does he?
I dislike black/white thinking anywhere I meet it. It is a way that always has some (disastrous) goals to achive. Simple answers to complex problems, that's what I call stupidity.
Fortunately most articles here have different tone and they are interesting to be red.


The French ban on Hijab sends a wrong message to all the civil people around the world.

Islam ISN'T oppression to women.Islam isn't the problem.The real question is:how muslims apply their religion.According to Sameena ,Islam means extremism.In fact,she speaks like "les laicards" who are persuaded that religions ,and particularly Islam,oppressed women.You use terms that you don't understand.I am a french muslim and every single day,I suffer from people's intolerance.It's a kind of oppression.

Sameena, your comments against Islam were deplorable. Islam is not oppressive against women on the contrary Islam has given more rights and protections to women than any religion in the world.

Your ignorance on Islam was shocking to me. Can you please educate yourself before you reach such eschewed conclusions. Do you know there are many teachings in Islam that talk about how to please women sexually and the right of a wife to be satisfied sexually by her husband. Do you know that a woman can divorce her husband on the fact that she isn't fulfilled sexually by him? Do you know that the prophet said that the best of men are those that treat their women the best?
Do you know that a father who brings two or more daughters, who educates them and is kind to them would go to heaven. Do you know that Islam stopped female infanticide and in Islam women were declared to be equal to men? Do you know that one of the reasons the pagans were against the prophet is the fact that Islam has elevated women's status. I can go on and on...

It's sad how some, so called muslim women don't get it. Just cause you don't understand islam don't be bashing those fortunate ones who do. You don't even get the point of the article. It's something that you WILL answer for. If new muslims see the beauty in it, and you don't, thats too bad. Your loss sister. My advice to you would be to learn islam first. See the beauty and benefits in it. Just like you'd learn art, philosophy, science, geography etc... All religions advise covering. Shaitan makes you uncover and hence, even in a symbolic way become vulnerable. If you think in todays society women are suppressed by head cover and you don't think they are suppressed by (becomming displayed meat on the cover of Vogue, Mademoiselle or Ebony you're short sighted) by other women and men telling them to shed their covering to sell more copies, that's unfortunate. Covering with dignity doesn't mean oppression. Maybe you're watching too much CNN. Some people are blind despite having a clear message. Sad...........

Hey Sameena,
Islam is NOT oppressive to women. Many Muslims (those who follow Islam) are oppressive. However, the blame squarely falls on you Muslim women. Nobody is going to spoon-feed you your rights. You have get out and fight for your rights.

H.A. is shocked b/c he finds that many of you Muslim women are extremely lazy....many even do not even to want to go to mosques on Fridays (to find out about your rights)....many of you (Muslim women) say, "We are not required to go. We would pray at home." I think that's the problem. How can you be at the forefronts of everythings and enjoy your rights if most of you do not get off the couch?
Remember!!! NO free lunch in any dimensions. You have to shed blood for your rights.

To be fair, a small minority of Muslim women ,however, on the right track. They wear hijab, they are highly educated, and hold high poistions, and fighting for women's rights.

To be also fair, H.A. severly criticizes H.A. for not helping the oppressed Muslim women enough. Modern muslim men and those who do excessive religion (i.e.- Taliban) also need to be educated about the true message of Islam.
Islam is the SOLUTION to life's all problem, NOT the problem.

Do you think Chrisitanity is anti-oppressive?
- well, they (Chirsitians) do not even look at you women, if you don't expose some part of your body. DO you think that's the definition of a progressive group of people? H.A. does not think so.

Other solutions to this (oppressive) problem:
. Don't cook food for your husbands or male family members.
. Brainstorm the problems with other Muslim women; Don't waste time spreading gossips and talking about jewelries and bangles. Spend that time working on the oppressive problems.

If you want H.A. to serve Tea/Coffee during your brainstorming sessions/seminar, let H.A. know.

Take Care.


It is always best, when we face trying circumstances, to learn lessons of good for future strength. The French Hijab ban by Chirac is silly: there is simply no other way to describe it. Yes, those who impose it may argue their reasons: Muslim women are oppressed; secularism "all the way." But their arguments stem from their misunderstanding, their failure to understand the conflict with open and just eyes. In passing such a far-reaching law, it is a necessity to consider the perspective of those whose humanity is threatened, rather than the perspective of those whom, ban or not, would face minimal personal consequences.
Yet, nevertheless, the injustice of the circumstance aside, how may we learn from this incident? I believe that this should be a wake-up call to the Muslim world, that if we want to progress, if we want to rise from the ashes and reclaim the traditional Islamic beauty of old, the passion, sincerity, and charisma of our beloved Prophet (may the peace of Allah be upon him) and his righteous companions and students, we must correct "the women problem" within our society. We must return to Muslim women their God-given rights. We must let our Muslim sisters flourish to the best of their ability in all spiritual and intellectual and pious pursuits. We must finally realize the potential of Muslim women, as a unit, accept their contribution to society, and Insha'Allah, witness the monumental, the renaissance of the spirit of Islam, a spirit of goodness and truth and all that is wonderful.
Then, Insha'Allah, may such misguided statements as Chirac's, and those who believe that the hijab is sign of the oppression of Muslim women, have no basis for truth in their argument and no proof. We must make the world see the potential of the Muslim woman as the epitome of liberty, as the servant of Allah alone. In her modesty is her glory and in her mind is her triumph and in her Islam is her freedom. And Allah is the Source of all Blessings, the Most Just.

Muslims who say Islam is oppressive obviously do not know the history of Islam. Islam does not oppress any living thing. People and certain cultures do. Some people find it difficult to make distinctions between the religion and culture. A serious study of Islam will show that Islam is an advocate of women's rights and holds women's protection and safety in the highest regard. Anyone serious about finding the truth should consult the Holy Qur'an and Hadiths (traditions of the prophet Muhammad PBUH). Islam is not responsible for people's evil deeds. People are responsible for their own actions- no matter what "culture" they follow or live in. Stop blaming the religion for error of human beings. As Salaamu Alaykum

Assalamu alaikum,

I read the opinions of people on this issue with great interest. What I find paricularly interesting are the comments of people who "know so much about Islam" simply because they interact with certain Muslims. This is a perfect example of the wisdom in the saying "Lead by example".

Just because an individual has witnessed the actions of certain characters, they automatically judge the beautiful religion of Islam and label it as being oppressive to women. I urge such individuals to try to look beyond the actions of some people and actually search for the truth within the guidelines set by Allah, subhanu wata'allah and the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) on issues relating to women. This is the only way they can know true Islam. Unfortunately because some women are forced into wearing the hijab and because some husbands beat up their wives ignorant people automatically assume that Islam permits it.

Just because some countries have a significant proportion of Muslims and enforce the shariah (when it suits the government) does not necessarily make it Islamic. In my humble opinion, there is no Islamic State in existence.

It saddens me when people make these comments because it only highlights the pathetic condition of the ummah. Until we as an ummah, rise up and live true Islam in all aspects of our lives, we can not expect our condition to change and such criticisms and bans will only increase.

May Allah improve the state of the ummah and guide us all to true Islam. Amin.

Wa Alaahu alam


Assalam - Alaikum
i think alot of people that condemn the hijaab do not themselves understand the importance behind it, and again alot of people are confusing themselves when they say that muslim women are oppressed. this is because they are combining culture with religion. Islam has given women freedom to vote, work and also the freedom to choose to get married to whom ever they wish so long as he or she is muslim. Also if somebody was to ask a muslim women who is wearing the Hijaab if she is oppressed or has been made to wear it, i think alot of them would be surprised with the answer as they wear it because they want to and not because they have to.

People should respect these women choice and for Allah sake leave them alone.

To Sameena.

I rarely reply other peoples' comments on this forum. But I can't let my fellow muslim doom herself(I guess you are femine from the comment you made?) just like that.

You can't make any abusive statement to Islam especially when you lack full knowledge of the subject you are addressing. This may take you out of the religion. So many of us have found themselves in situations like you. The irony is that you can't claim ignorance to the important teachings of the religion as you are commanded to seek for knowledge about the faith.

Who said we need voting in Islam? I mean we participate in democracy only because the situation demands it. Leaders are not pick by voting in Islam, according to the correct sunna of the Prophet(SAW) or his Sahabas. So if women are not alloweed to vote, they should thank Allah that at least they are prevented from an action outside of the deen.

What you, Sameena and those abusive husbands plus the wives need to do is to back to school. Islam is religion of knowledge. No Islamic education No Islam. May Allah continue to guide us unto the path that is straight to Him, ameen.

Sameena's comments are amusing, and indicative of the kind of liberal losers pretending to be Muslims. Islam, oppressive to woman ? Anybody who has read a history knows otherwise.
If thats the case why are 75 % of converts to Islam woman ? Doesnt quite fit into that pre-packaged notion of ignorance widely prevalent amongst such people, now does it ? Yeah, I'm sure they also believe Iraq was a threat to them also.
"Sameena" is in reality a confused child of immigrants to the west, one who was poorly raised hating their own faith to "fit in" into the "mainstream," whatever that is. What really is beneath contempt is the level of depravity and deceit these charlatans are willing to go to prove their anti-Islam arguments.
Adding spin to domestic violence and pinning it on Muslims is one such example, what are the statistics amongst Muslims and non-Muslims ? More importantly are such people practicing Muslims ? Ofcourse not. The role of culture perhaps ? Most definetly.
And to matter of sexuality, I would love to hear "Sameena's" take on this in regards to Muslim woman. No doubt it involves western notions and/or femenist propaganda. All of which have miserably failed the western woman themselves.
Finally, we need to remember that trolls who raise such ficticious associations from "our" end, are almost always non-practicing and virtually illiterate on Islam, hostile to the Sunnah, and suffering from a profound inferiority complex.
The article is about the hijab, and the war against it, I have little doubt which side of the fence "sameena" and the Islamophobes are on.

It is always best, when we face trying circumstances, to learn lessons of good for future strength. The French Hijab ban by Chirac is silly: there is simply no other way to describe it. Yes, those who impose it may argue their reasons: Muslim women are oppressed; secularism "all the way." But their arguments stem from their misunderstanding, their failure to understand the conflict with open and just eyes. In passing such a far-reaching law, it is a necessity to consider the perspective of those whose humanity is threatened, rather than the perspective of those whom, ban or not, would face minimal personal consequences.
Yet, nevertheless, the injustice of the circumstance aside, how may we learn from this incident? I believe that this should be a wake-up call to the Muslim world, that if we want to progress, if we want to rise from the ashes and reclaim the traditional Islamic beauty of old, the passion, sincerity, and charisma of our beloved Prophet (may the peace of Allah be upon him) and his righteous companions and students, we must correct "the women problem" within our society. We must return to Muslim women their God-given rights. We must let our Muslim sisters flourish to the best of their ability in all spiritual and intellectual and pious pursuits. We must finally realize the potential of Muslim women, as a unit, accept their contribution to society, and Insha'Allah, witness the monumental: the renaissance of the spirit of Islam, a spirit of goodness and truth and all that is wonderful.
Then, Insha'Allah, may such misguided statements as Chirac's, and those who believe that the hijab is sign of the oppression of Muslim women, have no basis for truth in their argument and no proof. We must make the world see the potential of the Muslim woman as the epitome of liberty, as the servant of Allah alone. In her modesty is her glory and in her mind is her triumph and in her Islam is her freedom. And Allah is the Source of all Blessings, the Most Just.

Islam IS oppressive to women. We Muslims are in serious denial and it is pretty obvious from the comments posted here. For example, in many parts of the Arab world, women do not even have the right to vote and the opportunities to work are very limited. I dont mean to demonize Islam but there is a lot that needs to be reformed about the way we currently practice Islam. I have yet to see an Islamic family of any ethnic group that respects a woman intellect or sexuality. Most of you probably dont even know what I mean by that. Muslims dont see women as human beings with the desires that are inherent to all humanbeings: the desire to achieve, to develop your intellect, to realize your potential and to express your sexuality. As a person belonging to Muslim society and as somebody who counsels abused women, time and time again I have seen Muslim women whose husbands show little regard for their individuality or their emotional, intellectual and sexual needs. In my experience, the extremely rare times that I have known a Muslim man who is comfortable with these needs in a woman, he is not a practicing Muslim. I dont blame the Muslim men here as much as I do the Muslim women. It is the Women who have allowed themselves to be abused in this way. Until the women realize their own complicity in this, until they stop submitting to this kind of abuse, Islam will continue to be a religion that reeks of misogyny.

I think the ban on hijab is cause for reflection on our own situation. We Muslims work so hard for acceptance in the West, often times compromising our deen and turning to apologetics and defeatism to gain this acceptance.
The situation in Europe, more recently this ban on hijab in France is a grim reminder of how things can get worse for Muslims if we continue to live without an Islamic State.
This may sound a bit non-sensical but there is some good in this: While not accomadating Muslims France they have put up the barrier against assimilation, which in my opinion is a good thing. We have seen what accomadation has led to in non-islamic societies like the USA. We are losing our identity and values in those societies due to the assimilation.
So unlike the author of the article, who I see as a proponent of assimilation, I must respectfully disagree. I am a byproduct of 3 generations of muslims who came here in the early 1900's and I have seen the effects of assimilation. I live in one of the most concentrated muslim cities in the West and I can tell you that the mosques themselves have bent towards western values. The accomadation has lead to muslims being lax and forgetting about thier duties to convey Islam to the rest of the world. I have relatives, women, who are married to kafirs. Brothers on drugs with bastard kids all over the place. So I believe that assimilation is a bad thing.
It is high time that muslim scholars and activists reroute thier objectives from working for acceptance in the West, to re-establishing Islam in the form of a superstate. This is what I am for and I hope you are for.

People and some Muslims think hijab is a requirement made by men/husbands of their wives. I think this is why people mistakenly view the scarf as oppresive. As Muslims we heed to the word of Allah out of love for Allah, fear of Allah, reward from Allah. Of these love is the highest. Feminists are the only group who openly express their dissatisfaction with gender relations around the world. Many views about Muslim women being oppressed come out of ignorance about Islam.

As Salaamu Alaykum. My body is my own business*. I am thankful to Allah for the guidance to wear hijab and lovingly obey His command. I am a Muslim woman who finds liberation in wearing hijab. I am not alone in this opinion. Check out *

In this part of the world, there use to be(still is) a History text book. When I was a student in the 70's I remembered vividly two distinct sub topics under the history of colonialism Vis '..British policy of Indirect rule"..and "French policy of Assimilation.." The later is the point of interest to us. As the title suggest you must speak French, dressed like the French, walk,eat,sleep the French in the "French Colonies" to have your "freedom".

Dr. Siddiqui has just brought up another very important issue(probably forgotten). I think the French have taken the world(of Muslims) for a ride for too long, this is the right time to say enough is enough. And we can begin as a contributor suggested, by banning the teaching of French language in the Countries of the East and southern hemisphere as a 1st instance. After that other drastic measures may follow. But the most important is for muslims to go back to Allah and pray earnestly for the destruction of the oppressors all over the world. After all Allah always listen to the prayer of his oppressed servant.



Assalamu alaikum. So are women who adhere to Qur'an 33:32 supposed to say what's on their mind? (Welcome to the West.)

H.A. - may I respectfully suggest that you consider removing your headphones (at least for a moment) before you click on the 'Submit' button? As an alternative, you might wish to consider delaying your 'submissions' until after you have finished preparing your son's breakfast. Regardless - may peace be upon you.

Interesting article Dr. Habib. It seems whereever we turn there is judgement and an obsticle waiting. As a Muslim women who is not married nor live with her parents, I made the choice to wear hijab without being forced to it and have a professional work that allows me to practice and appreciate my believe. I thank Allah for that. France is doing in my beleive what other European countries are in the process of doing or at least are thinking about. It is clear that Islamic way of life is not welcomed or appreciated in the west and supprisingly in some so called "Islamic" countries. It is our challange and resposiblity as Muslims to over come these barriers whether it is in France or Saudi Arabia. We need to take back this religion and ourselves of the constant misrepresantation and abuse that we are suffering from. I think it is time to stop crying to the west and doing something about it. Although I am not suggesting voilence, I beleive there are better and more useful ways to do it.

H.A,you're constantly claiming that we are not civilized and putting down Muslims. Look IslamicCity is posting your comments regardless of narrow minded your views are. And please remember we(muslims) gave birth to civilization.

The Muslim who lives in a Muslim country can perform his religious duties freely and completely with a great feeling of security and peace. He is often reminded if he neglects any of his religious duties. Therefore, the Muslim should reside only in the land of Muslims. If he resides somewhere else it should be only with a legal excuse and with the intention to leave that land as soon as the reason for residing there no longer exists and it is possible to do so.

Muslims living in non-Muslim countries however suffer due to disrespect of their religious feelings as well as attempts to have them integrated into those societies. These attempts toward integration are sometimes advertised and backed by the non-Muslim government. At other times the Muslims themselves desire to integrate into the society. But their integration can sometimes be synonymous with denying their Islamic values and customs. It leads Muslims to abandon their creed and their religious heritage.

In fact, the trend of life in a non-Muslim country is contrary to Islamic teachings. The environment has a great impact upon the lifestyle of Muslims living there. Many Muslims living in the Western countries lose control of their families. The Islamic educational institutions are scarce and lack the means and experience to meet the needs of resident Muslims. So, they cannot effectively counter the highly publicized campaign of depravation and moral degradation. This failure often contributes to the destruction of the Muslim's ethics. Moreover, the religious schools in those countries spare no effort to Christianize Muslim youth or at least encourage them to neglect Islamic values and to integrate, or to integrate totally into the larger society.

Therefore, if the Muslim cannot protect himself against such attempts and influencing factors and cannot avoid them, then he should leave such an environment. Even if he has the freedom necessary to perform his religious duties and his religious rites

I think Mr.HA was only being sarcastically critical of the West and it's false belief that it's the only champion of women's rights or civil rights in general.

The fact of the matter is that in no other part of the world the women are most abused than here in the West. My brother is a doctor and he was telling me recently that in majority of interactions he's had with his female patients, he's been told by atleast 70% of the women that they have been abused by their boy friends, or fathers or brothers or someone in their family. That only confirms the fact that women are the most abused and scorned as objects of sex, here in the West than anywhere else. Women who think they are independent and free by wearing revealing outfits are only living in fool's paradise. This western society has created such a system of delusion for women that they are abused without their knowledge and these poor women think that they are enjoying freedom in a free society; to the extent that even public lewdness and obscenity appears normal. They are only being used or abused as sex objects that's all and it's a fact and nothing can change my opinion about it.

Mr.Stevie, you snatched those words from my mouth, indeed, I personally respect a lot those women who wear Hijab than those who don't. In fact, I don't respect women who wear tight or revealing outfits.

Peace to all.

I am more liberated in a hijab than without. It is the command of the prophet. As he was looking out for the well being of the believers. Only believers will understand and respect and follow this. To them will come the blessings as promised by Allah s.w.t. The others will stumble in their own worldly experiences. Convincing themselves that it's o.k. to not cover. Some go to extremes and ornament themselves or show it all, i.e. french nude beaches. Look at virgin Mary herself. Look at Mother Theresa. Look at the nuns. Jewish women can't even pray without a head-cover. So get off the backs of women who wish to cover for the respect of themselves and the command of their Allah s.w.t.

I wonder how many non-muslims have read and thought about before responding to this article and therefore how balanced a response there is measured against any mixed popluation.

I think Mr. H.A was being sarcastic, meaning he was pretending to be a westerner that espouses western value. Perhaps he was a bit crude, but if you live here in the U.S. you'd understand that many American males do think in just that way. They first view women as objects to be conquered, and then perhaps human later. People here are judged on appearance first. Many say that they don't, but they do, and studies have proven it. If the U.S. adopts Islam or even a little of Islamic values then I think that it would be a great country. As it stands it just isn't. Rich? Yes. Powerfull? Yes. Great? No.
This article rings with so much truth that it hurts. It hurts to know that the dominant countries of this world are the most socially, and spiritually backward. France must understand that what it's doing is a violation of freedom. You know, I think they do understand. I think they understand, but they just don't care.

Lots of respect for you Dr. Siddiqui, and I could not agree with you more. The french should not ban some thing like thatm, to some people it might be a minor problem but some people it might be a very big thing.

I understand and defend the Muslim women's rights to wear hijab,as a religious practice there is no problem.
The problem is, as worldwide the split is now 33-21% Christian, that hijab is taken a sign of possible Muslim POLITICAL power, which with the hysteria of those on the "Christian" right is seen as a threat to Western "values".

We have a duty to clean the Muslim lands before we can clean any other land western or otherwise. It is our obligation to start working today before tomorrow. Allah is watching. If the Muslim leaders worked honesty and responsibly, the Muslim women would have never been driven out and subjected to this kind of discrimination.
The Mulim countries are as bad as we all know. It is the corrput Muslim regimes which have brought this condition about. Until the perversion of these nations is gone, we will see more of this. Allah will not change this until we take action against those corrupt "Mulsim" leaders.

Dr. Siddiqui,
May Allah reward you for writing about the truth.
First I find the comments that the Reader H.A posted to Dr. Siddiqui's article, I find very sickening and disturbing.
Dr. Siddiqui, this is merely a war on Islam and Muslims. The comments the the H.A reader posted to your comments describes the status of the enemies of Islam. What they want and wish for, totally contradict with what we want and wish for as Believers. They promote for nudity and debauchery, while we promote for decency and morality.

This is an excellent article, I agree with it very
----Mr. HA, hardly anything you said made any
sense at all. You should learn to type.
We'll see in the Hereafter who are the winners
and who are the losers-----
And it might be sooner than you think...........

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California,
and I am a Muslim since the age of two (now 40).
My mother switched us in and out of Muslim school
and public school so I got a chance to experience
the full impact of both negative and positive
influences on my life. As I reflect over the
years, I notice that me and my male friends,
Muslim and non-Muslim showed more repect to women
dressed in modest clothing like hijab,
concervative dresses and business attire as
opposedtofemales who drssed in tight fitting
clothes and revealing outfits. To this day I think
the hijab looks so beautiful with the colors and
gold inlay...yup! So let us all join together and
stand for what is good and forbid that which is
bad and unjust.
As Salaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmantu Allah

Dr. Siddiqui,
You are wrong!!! The west is the guiding light for all creatures on Earth even for the creatures such as chimps and quails on all the ranches of Texas and Camp David.

You are shockingly wrong because -
1. Nudity promotes self-expression and completely prevents subjugation by terrory MOZLEM men.

You're wrong b/c-
2. Hijab prevents vouyersitics and infidellic activities; that's the wrong message. Vouyerism and nudism are NOT completely interdepedent, but they are mutually exclusive. The bottom line is that vouyerism and nudism are good for one's health. Hijab is not.

3. Hijab prevents the civilized citizens of the highly civilized west an opporutinity to think for hours about what the meaning of the English word "is" is when his/her soul mate get caught of cheating at work.

Hijab prevents people from to saying I did not have sexual relationship with that woman .... and I did not have ......again and again. And that's the violation of freedom of speech!!!

4. The slogan "It's my body. I can do whatever I want with it" MUST only apply to nude CHRISTIAN, JEWISH, HINDU, BUDDHISHTS, and lost&nudy MUSLIM women for the sake of self-expression. The slogan MUST NOT apply to potential sucide bombing, subjugated, Hijaby Mozlem women and to Mozlem women who are repeatedly beaten day and night by their MOZLEM husbands.

Dr. Siddiqui!!! Don't ever write such an article again. I am extremely mad at the editors for posting such rubbish!!!

Either you're with the west or with the uncivilized Mozlems!!!

I gotta go!!! I need to capture a microquantity of the guiding light so that I can mix it with MY BOY's cereal so that he would grow up to be an emotional defender of nudism for sake of peace and self-expression not only on Earth, but also on Moon. That's the only way to spread self-expression on Mars.

NO sanction must be placed on France!!!
No resoultion 1441 must be passed!!!

Thank you very much for a well written article in solidarity for the Muslim sisters in France. My Muslims sisters in France are in my prayers. May God Almighty bless them with courage and patience to uphold their beliefs and to not to give up the struggle to wear the simple hijab whether in school, work place or anywhere. InshaAllah your fruit of perseverence will be rewarded by Allah Subhanawata'alah.

I thought France was a democratic country...with the idea of 'liberty, equality and Fraternity'. All this has been tested and it failed. Then what is all the fuss about spreading democracy in the Muslim lands? Double standards!

Hijab is a simple piece of cloth to cover not only the head but also the chest including loose fitting clothing for the rest of the body. Now what is better to be revealing or to be honorably dressed? As a matter of fact Hijab is one of the reason that the Western women are choosing Islam as a way of life. They find tranquility and honor and happiness. It suits her nature and that is the way God Almighty made her. Unfortunately, the media, fashion and movie industry are exploiting her sexuality. They are exhausted of being a windown display only. Please womenkind wake up and come to your senses!!

I am a Muslim American and do not wear hijab. This is my personal choice. However, I would truly resent it if the government told me I couldn't wear hijab if I wanted to. Muslim women in France should have this right - the same as we do here. What is France afraid of??? Religious intolerance and ignorance in democracies should be fought not tolerated. I hope those in power there can see the error in this proposed policy and change it.

I agree in totality the ideas of this wonderful article

I agree in totality of the article. "Liberty, equality and fraternity" is only for French people; not for Muslims. The basic rights of freedom of religion and preserving one's culture is only for French people, not for Muslims. The Muslims who are born in France are not French citizens obviously, even though they have French citizenship. It is difiicult to understand; you are a French(Muslim) citizen but have no freedom of liberty of practicing your religion as per the God's commandments.
Hijaab is a religious duty and it is not a cultural customs. It is like , if you are a Christian you go to Church or a Jew you go Synogague or a Hindu you go a temple and so if you are a Muslim woman, you wear Hijaab. It is as simple as that. It is not a suppresion or represion of any women. It is just like Catholic nuns' head gear. If President Chiraque does not understand it ( or he does not want to understand ?), it is bad for France in long run. It can only alienate Muslims from the main straem life and can lead to radicalism if France go head and ban the Hijaab.
Let the Franch have some prudence of wisdom and religious freedom prevails.

Bravo Dr.Siddiqui, short and sweet. It is nothing less than the simple truth that Europeans, by and large are living in the stone age so to speak. If after all the wars and choas they've brought upon the world in last century alone wont teach them, I dont know what will. This is ofcourse a testing ground for what awaits Muslims in the rest of Europe, no doubt Germany and England are watching very closely.
If they cant stand a piece of cloth on a woman, what can they tolerate ?
It is high time for Muslims to apply a boycott against such a decrepit and failed culture. A good place to start is removing the french language from educational criteria with Islamic nations.
And before any third rate troglydite (you know who you are, Chander and co.) makes inane and retarded analogies to Saudi Arabia, read the comments in the other thread on the Hijab situation in France.