Video: Muslim women arrested in Paris for wearing (perfectly legal) headscarves

A video first published by Le Parisien and shot on Saturday shows French police arresting women in the Place du Trocadéro in Paris apparently just for wearing headscarves.

Le Parisien explained that France’s Interior Minister had ordered a prohibition on any demonstrations amid tight security restrictions on French diplomatic missions abroad as the French magazine Charlie Hebdo published caricatures of the prophet Muhammad.

According to Le Parisien (my translation):

In Paris, the order for “firmness” from the Minister of the Interior, Manuel Valls, to prevent any demonstrations, were scrupulously applied, sometimes zealously. In the capital, fifty persons “who did not respect the prohibitions” were arrested and quickly released. On the Trocadéro square, which was surrounded by about thirty police vehicles, and police in riot gear, women in headscarves, some of them tourists, were asked to leave the area. One of them, her head covered in a black hijab [headscarf], shouted, “I’m fed up with laïcité” as she was taken away by police. Many people of North African origin were also made to show their identity cards, but despite some tension there were no incidents.

It is interesting that Le Parisien does not consider the systematic racist harassment of Muslim women and North Africans itself to be a shocking “incident.”

Laïcité is the french word, often translated as “secularism.” The French state is laïc – meaning it is separated from the church and other religions. However, in practice laïcité has increasingly become – as the woman being arrested signalled – synonymous with Islamophobia.

Last year, France outlawed women covering their faces completely, but simply wearing a headscarf – as millions of Muslim and non-Muslim women do – is perfectly legal.

But, in recent days – as Islamphobia continues to rise – Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s National Front party called for a ban on headscarves worn by Muslim women and skullcaps worn by Jewish men.

Tags

Comments

picture

Laïcité in France is a secular counterpart to religious fondamentalism as far as intolerance is concerned though we all know who's the real target.
Manuel Valls, the new Minister of Interior has a love story going on with the State of Israel. Here on a Jewish radio saying "I'm eternally linked to the Jewish community and to Israel":
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9Bs3t...
On Sunday, Valls participated in the celebration of the Jewish New Year in a Parisian synagogue, and said "The Jews of France can wear their kippa proudly".
He also explained why he made a ban on the demonstration saturday at Trocadero (in a country where the Jewish Defense League is still not forbidden, and aggressed another (Jewish) pro-Palestinian journalist a few days ago.
http://videos.lavoixdunord.fr/...
Manuel Valls when still a mayor of Evry banned a public discussion with Samir Abdallah, multi-awarded filmmaker (also by France Télévision) about his documentary Gaza-Strophe (on the net, also in English).
In 'super-secular France', the Mayor of Paris - who inaugurated an Esplanade de Ben Gourion, along the Seine, two years ago (and a small Place de Mahmoud Darwish to 'compensate') - has cancelled a City Council meeting tomorrow because of Yom Kippour. Well, if that had been 'Aïd ....
Liberté, égalité, fraternité.

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.