B1 Intermediate AU 1970 Folder Collection
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Tensions are high in France in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks and retaliatory
violence and threats against the Muslim community have already been made. There have been
numerous instances in which Mosques were defaced, shot at or bombed. The question is, are
these isolated incidents or does France an issue with Islam?
Unfortunately, France does have a somewhat antagonistic relationship with it’s Muslim
population. France is a secular nation with strict laws designed to separate church and
state.
Some French policy-makers have used these secular beliefs to make things more difficult
for
France’s Muslim population. Practicing Islam demands physical expressions of belief from
most
of its followers. This includes wearing a hijab, or headscarf. In 2004, French policy-
makers were able to legally ban hijabs and other religious head coverings from public
schools.
Politicians responsible for the legislation said conspicuous religious symbols in public
schools
conflicted with the secular policies, or what the french call, “laïcite.”
Later, in 2011, veils that cover the face were officially outlawed from public places
on the
grounds of public safety. Lawmakers touted the ruling as a win for feminism and freedom
of
expression, but some Muslim women argue the opposite point. Muslim women who choose to
express their religious beliefs freely by wearing a veil are now unable to access public
places
without either being fined or jeopardizing their beliefs. If they followed the letter
of the law they
would be essentially trapped in their homes. And trapping woman in their homes is the opposite
of feminism.
The French Collective Against Islamophobia also says that since the new law, there has
been
“an explosion” in physical attacks against veiled women.
Adding to all of this is the fact that, one of the leading right-wing politicians, Marine
Le Pen
who obtained 18 percent of the votes in the first round of the 2012 presidential elections,
is
unabashedly anti-Islam. Her National Front party wants to drastically cut down on immigration
into the country. According to her Muslims "are advancing in the neighborhoods. They
are
putting pressure on the population. They are recruiting young boys [to train for jihad].”
In April
2014, Le Pen also announced that in towns won by National Front candidates, there would
no longer be pork-free lunch alternatives in some public schools, which obviously affects
both
Muslim and Jewish children.
All of these things contribute to some news organizations labeling France as Islamophobic.
And it’s hard to ignore the signs of disturbing intolerance in the region. Since the Charlie
Hebdo
shootings, there have reportedly been more than 50 separate attacks on the Muslim community.
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Is France Really Islamophobic?

1970 Folder Collection
姚易辰 published on January 21, 2015
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