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Targeting hijab reveals France political mind-blindness: Moroccan intellectual

October 6, 2023 at 5:59 pm

A group gathered in front of the French Embassy protests against the ban on abaya (long dress) in schools in France in Vienna, Austria on September 16, 2023 [Aşkın Kıyağan/Anadolu Agency]

A Moroccan thinker, on Friday, said a recent decision by France to ban French athletes from wearing hijab reveals the French political mind-blindness and lack of wisdom in French decision-making, Anadolu Agency reports.

Such decisions indicate that the French political mind is in conflict, not only with Muslims inside France, but in conflict with entire Africa and the Muslim communities

Moroccan thinker and intellectual, Mohammad Talabi, told Anadolu in an interview.

French Sports Minister, Amelie Oudea-Castera’s decision to ban its athletes from wearing hijab comes ahead of hosting the Olympics Games in Paris next year, raising fears among female athletes and participants over the decision that is widely viewed as an infringement upon their freedom of choices.

Last month, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), however, assured all athletes that they are free to wear a headscarf (hijab) in the athletes’ village in Paris, despite the host country’s decision to ban its athletes from wearing the head covering.

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French political mind-blindness

Talabi, head of the Morocco-based Wasatyea (Moderation) Forum, said the French political mind is blind and that is reflected through the thinking of French President, Emmanuel Macron.

He said Macron himself lacks political wisdom at the strategic and tactical levels, whether inside or outside France.

“The negative impact of the French decisions will affect the French people’s allegiance to their state, whereas protests are everywhere (in France),” he said.

He also said the French Muslim community’s allegiance to their State will be affected, as the French authorities are infringing upon their religious symbols.

The French political mind is infected by extremism, and will end with an abject failure inside France and outside

the Moroccan thinker added.

Macron is leading what he describes as a strict and extremist form of secularism, which “will eventually finish off democracy (in France),” Talabi argued.

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Favouring extreme right-wing

Talabi said there is a general rise in the extreme right-wing bloc across Europe, and Macron seeks to favour such trend through adopting undemocratic decisions.

He said the French President seeks to gain votes from the extreme right-wing by these decisions.

“To be democratic means to accept difference,” Talabi said, adding that the French officials are tearing down their country’s democracy.

He said that his forum will work against the decision of banning hijab, stressing that France at the official level will lose from such anti-Islam policies.

“France now has lost Africa, which is liberating itself from the dependency on France after a long period of (French) exploitation and subjugation,” the Moroccan thinker said.

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Calls on Muslim communities worldwide to challenge French decision

Talabi urged the Muslim communities worldwide to complain before relevant courts against the French decisions that target the Muslim community in France.

He also called on Muslims to seek judicial and peaceful means to face the French decision.

“We will see in the future what will such extremism, practiced by France against Muslims, cause,” Talabi concluded as saying.

The French decision to ban French athletes from wearing hijab, or headscarves, during the 2024 Paris Olympics has drawn widespread condemnations.

The UN voiced objections to the French decision banning the hijab on its athletes. “No one should impose on a woman what she needs to wear or not wear,” said Marta Hurtado, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

France is home to the largest population of Muslims in Europe, making up at least 10 per cent of the French population. Islam is the second-largest religion practiced in the country, after Catholicism.