Recently, the French government passed a ban on Niqab's being worn in public in France. I believe this is mis-directed, based in Islamaphobia and French nationalism, and will most likely hurt women more than help. Although I have sincere personal misgivings about women wearing Niqabs and burqas, I also think this is playing politics with women's bodies (and clothes). My guess is that this ban will do nothing but force the few women who wear Niqabs, to stay home. So, what is the point of the French law anyway? Is it to empower women or preserve the picture of a white, primarily Catholic nation? Is the ban a mis-guided attempt at women's empowerment or based in something much more exclusionary?

What's your take? I am particularly interested in the opinions of Muslim women on PulseWire.

To view a recent video created as a protest against the ban, go to


Hi Rachel,

Thanks for posting this. I won't delve into my perspective as I know you want to hear back from Muslim women on Pulsewire. However, I don't know if you are aware that the music, carried out in limerick prose, is supposed to dialogue with the short film and ends in a pun (last frame), namely, putting a spin on a very well known feminist organization in France.

Anyhow, I posted this on facebook and it drew a very interesting discussion. I've been following these discussions since I lived in France twice, and the second time, I lived in a highly populated immigrant neighborhood. This, of course, exposed me to a difference France.



I would love to hear your opinion! I didn't listen closely to the music, so thanks for pointing that out. Where in France did you live? I lived briefly in St. Brieuc in Brittany, and I visit often as my partner is French.



"Tell me then, what will you do with your one wild, sweet, and precious life?" -Mary Oliver

Dear Rachael

thanks for posting such important thing

for me as a muslim women, i see this law is not fair for muslims women because it deprives them from thier rights , maybe those women find there freedom in wearing Niqab , why all people against them i don't understand yet .

i have shocked when syria prevent teachers and girls from wearing nigab , So far 1,200 defiant female teachers have been removed from teaching assignments to administrative positions while an uncounted number has the doors of higher education shut on them.

iam not wearing any kind of veil , but this makes me ask what is wrong with women seeking to integrate modernity and tradition in their lives which can be suitable to their societies or communities! Why attack veiled women if we assume that veil is a type of violence practiced on them? Moreover, why is veil being seen as different from traditional scarf while taking off both does not provoke any reaction?

i want to hear from the great women here some answers for my questions .

i wrote an article about that and would publsih it tomorrow in world pulse

best, Alia


I appreciate your points. This is truly happening in so many different countries. In the US, we have our own version of Islamophobia. And in our neighboring Canada, the veil has also been banned. It's truly spreading. I think it's interesting the way in which gender plays into it. Women become the mediums through which so many of these tensions get negotiated and it is unfair!

I also appreciate your question, "Moreover, why is veil being seen as different from traditional scarf while taking off both does not provoke any reaction?"

In solidarity,


Hi Rachel,

I think this is an interesting way to protest the ban on the burka and to further call attention to the false presumption that a miniskirt is somehow indicative of a society's freedom and women's rights.

Some of the blogs I read asked why the artists did not walk around suburbs with a high Islamic population, but i think their choosing to walk around communities situated in the center of Paris is a way of reminding mainstream French society that while they may push these populations outside their imaginary because they inhabit the periphery and the suburbs, these populations do exist and at some point they will have to confront their Islamophobia in a different, more realistic manner. I think it also calls into question France's law on citizenship and identity, which completely ignores ethnic background and history. I think this is what the banning of the burka is. An erasure of an identity (in a way).

I haven't had time to pay attention to the lyrics of the music. But the song is a long list of metaphors for how the singer is making love all day long (it’s actually quite funny). The pun in the last frame, "Mi-pute, mi-soumise" (half-whore, half-submissive) is a take on the feminist slogan, "Ni putes, ni soumises" (Neither a whore nor submissive), which is a women's organization in France organized mainly by Muslim women.

On a different note, I love St. Brieuc! I visited briefly. The north of France is my favorite as I find it to be very charming.

The first time, I was in Paris, studying language, art history and literature. The second time, I was awarded a Teaching Assistantship Grant to Nantes. I taught English and Spanish at 3 different ZED schools and interned for Le Lieu Unique’s Estuaire Project. Have you heard of it? Le Lieu Unique is a remodeled factory where the cookies LU were once made.

What inspired your travel to France? Did you work there?