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French presidential campaign spotlights Muslim headscarves

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By ELAINE GANLEY and DANIEL COLE

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Trust me, it's really not all about headscarves.

FT's Anne-Sylvaine Chassany, in Upcoming World News, summed up what the landscape looks like as of today:

While the President came first in the first round of the French election on Sunday, Marine Le Pen achieved her highest first-round vote yet. Now, polling suggests the National Rally leader will soak up a good proportion of votes from those who backed candidates in the early state of the election but have since been knocked out.

Ifop-Fiducial asked voters after the publication of first-round results who they would back in the second. The results showed the run-off voting could produce a very tight result, with Mr Macron projected at 38.8 percent and Ms Le Pen less than three points behind at 36.1.

Financial Times World News Editor Anne-Sylvaine Chassany said it would be particularly interesting to see how those who previously cast their vote for left-leaning candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon would act later this month. She wrote in a post on Twitter that swing voters gave Mr Macron “the benefit of the doubt” in the last presidential election, but now “deeply dislike him”. Ms Chassany said: “[They] even think he is as toxic as Le Pen (for different reasons).”

Perhaps anticipating the possibility of more left-wing voters considering putting their cross in her box in the election’s run-off voting, Ms Le Pen last week signalled she will be willing to appoint leftists in her Government if she comes top. She told RTL radio she would “probably not” work with people on the ‘far-left’, but “could very well have people” closer to the “centre ground”. “In other words, a sovereigns left, a left which supports re-industrialisation, the defence of our great industries.”

Ifop-Fiducial’s polling also showed the vast majority who voted for the more right-leaning Eric Zemmour in the first round would throw their weight behind Ms Le Pen, along with around one third of those who backed Valérie Pécresse, Soyons libres (“Let’s be free”) party leader. Meanwhile, 14.2 percent of those polled said they would abstain from voting altogether and 10.8 percent did not vote either way. The results do not, however, consider those who chose not to vote in the first round of the election, the turnout of which was around 74 percent.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I believe from some movies I watched non-muslim women's wears headscarfs, too. Especially when they are traveling in a convertible. They can be banned, too? Right?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Well, the french area of Canada has banned them for anyone working in any job that is part of the civil service so teachers, nurses, bus drivers, day care workers, home care workers, doctors, cannot wear them.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

“It’s like choosing between the plague and cholera,” said Maha, a 19-year-old social science student, who gave her first vote to Mélenchon but could reluctantly vote for Macron in the second round......Politico EU

"Headscarves" or otherwise, this election has clearly exposed the polarization within the countries political divide. The first round revealed that voters picking far-left/ far-right candidates.

Le Pen focus, pledge, is to working class families with benefits to cope with soaring energy and food prices.

Yet, Le Pen with the increasing threat of anarchy, failed to present with any genuine conviction a clear alternative policy

The conflict in Ukraine has exposed an instable EU governance structure, 

The unity of EU member states have failed to divest themselves from political and economic vested interests.

My French friends find it difficult to nail down what Macron stands for.

Macron promised and pledged fighting inequality, however like a tree caught in a gale he flips and flops, back and forth, unable to forge a clear economic policy agenda.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

“If we must, we will leave (France) so that we aren’t bothered, so that people don’t look at us in a bad way,” 

Of course they won’t contemplate their next choice of domicile extending to somewhere like Saudi Arabia, even with all its ‘freedom’. Nor should they be under any illusion that outlawing head, face, body covering will not spread to encompass more and more places. Such nativist policies are anathema to the globalists; a bacillus they ignore at their peril.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

“What is the headscarf doing in politics?” the woman asked.

Easy question to answer:

Muslim headscarves serve as a “marker” of Islamist ideology, . . . a gateway to extremism.

Bravo to Le Pen for having the courage to take on this issue.

Extremism is destroying Europe.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

I am appalled by the comments here that say headscarves are not a big deal. They represent the inferiority of women and they polarize women by putting them into 2 groups: the pure ones wearing it and the tainted ones who are not wearing it. Like all religions, it is patriarchal and says that if you are a good woman, you should cover yourself not to tempt men. So if men harass, rape or bother you, it will be the woman's fault for not wearing the correct clothes.

How can you say this is not a big deal? But I should say I'm not surprised as most of these comments are coming from men....

Also France's devise is Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité. Headscarf promotes unequality so it should definitely not be allowed.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

Don't like head scarves? Don't colonize them.

And, oh, tell everyone loudly that you are against religion.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Extremism is destroying Europe.

The above is a little extreme for me, but I do think extremist right wings views including those pushed from the Kremlin and elsewhere have served to pit those in democracies against each other and also against their respective government, and that is slowly undermining democracies everywhere..

Le PEN, like many other Putin supporting rightists, is pro-authoritarian, though she claims she's anti-authoritarian. Europeans should have learned from the 1930s and 1940s that authoritarian regimes like those led by Hitler and Stalin can be brutal to those outside the dictators closest circle. Rightists cry 'Draconian' when states propose measures they do not support. But for a true example of a Draconian regime look at Russia today where people are being jailed for using the word 'war' or 'invasion'. And for criticizing their government.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I’ve still not heard a convincing reason why Muslim men don’t cover up too.

Anyway, should the government get involved in regulating what people can wear if it isn’t a security or decency matter? I’d say no.

I hope those in favour of limited government and freedom of choice aren’t being selective.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

BigYen, your argument is skewed as headscarves impacts on everybody and these women have been indoctrinated since they are born, so yes obviously they want to wear it, it does not make it right.

I suggest you all look into the #LetUsTalk campaign so you can see what Muslim women think about headscarves and the impact on their lives. Or read Masih Alinejad's book the Wind in My Hair.

That is the meaning of headscarves.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

JimizoToday  12:17 pm JST

Anyway, should the government get involved in regulating what people can wear if it isn’t a security or decency matter? I’d say no.

Good luck flying on an airplane without wearing a mask the last two years.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Jimizo,

The government should interfere because headscarf is not only a cloth, it is a political and religious statement.

That may be fine in religious countries but France is laïc.

The article is also wrong at saying that the separatism law was against Islam. It is meant to be for all religions but Islam is the only one where people want to put their faith and the laws associated with it before French laws. Other religions do not proselytize, they do not ask to have swimming pools available only for them, they do not have their church people coming from abroad promoting an extreme (Muslim Brotherhood) ideology, they do not have people asking sports federation to change rules to accommodate their beliefs.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

There is no rule of wearing exactly those items. They only should cover visible feminine attributes like hair or body contours to please their god. And this could also be reached with many different kinds of Western clothing, right? In addition, they are outside of the original Arab area, the house of Islam/ dar-al-Islam as it is called, so they are not even obliged to take all measures or abiding to all religious rules. They could even easily show up with longer hair and eat pork meat if they excuse to their god during prayers, because when in France they are in the so-called dar-al-harb area, house of war, or let’s be gentle and translate it with area of non-Islamic people or unbelievers. Considering that, it’s obvious they want to loudly and visibly extend the Islamic ruled original area in Arabia to all other global areas, so the real problem is in their head, not with whatever cover on it.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

So banning the wearing of headscarfs on women helps in the fight against extremism. I had no idea that terrorist starts their acts by first wearing headscarfs.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The government should interfere because headscarf is not only a cloth, it is a political and religious statement

Political statement? I suppose you could argue a Che Guevara t-shirt or a MAGA hat are flying in the face of this. Parading Swastikas ( I tho k illegal in France ) is a more difficult one but I’d allow that - let these morons expose themselves for what they are.

Religious statements are more tricky but again, I still don’t agree with a government intervening in what people wear outside of security and decency.

Other religions do not proselytize

No Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons etc proselytizing in France?

I agree that the government should not bend over for any religion. If your religious beliefs clash with the culture of the country, tough - your problem.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@BigYen,

Ok, so If I follow your logic, because only SOME Muslim women are for unequality, we should allow headscarves?

The number does not matter, the problem is the meaning behind headscarves.

And also, the few studies done in France on this topic confirm that headscarf is a political and religious statement.

I do not have anti-Muslim bias, I only have an equality bias.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

@Jimizo,

No, Mormons and Jehovah witnesses don't request to change public venues to fit their needs.

As I explained, only Muslims want swimming pools to be opened for women only and wear burqini, only them want to play soccer with the headscarf and so on.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@zichi,

That is fine, you can post about all the examples you want, the point is that in France, we only have issues with headscarves, so Muslims. Other religions/faiths do not request changes to public spaces and do not promote unequality through their positions.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

@yoshisan,

I explained how headscarves go against equality and promote patriarchy and Islam in a laïc country where equality is one of the key principles. I am sorry you cannot understand my point. Again, check #LetUsTalk campaign and see what Muslim women think about headscarves.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@zichi,

You haven't read what I posted. I am talking about changes to swimming pools (they want to wear burqini and have pools opened only for women), soccer fields (they want to play with headscarves) and recently in school with girls not wanting to attend swimming lessons.

The list can be extended to pretty much every aspect of life in France. There were already issues with daycare teachers wanting to wear headscarves there or other private companies.

Again, this is not a headdress, this is a religious cloth that means that women are inferior to men and can be divided in being a good woman (because dressed with modesty) or a bad one (because no headscarf). This goes against French principle of equality.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Emmanuel Macron is also not agreeing with Biden’s so called “speaking from the heart” about Russian genocide.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@BigYen,

Yes headscarf is political and religious. Of course, it can also be cultural but that is a consequence of Islam. Can you tell me of a country where there is a culture of headscarf without Islam?

I do not want to impose anything, just respect the concept of equality which is a key principle in France.

This is also what current president Macron said, that headscarves are not synonymous of equality and should never be encouraged.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Now, some Muslims feel the presidential campaign is once again stigmatizing their faith.

"Some"? Muslim men? A few beaten down, broken women?

Le Pen is trying to protect these women.

SAME#Today  04:02 pm JST

Again, this is not a headdress, this is a religious cloth that means that women are inferior to men and can be divided in being a good woman (because dressed with modesty) or a bad one (because no headscarf). This goes against French principle of equality.

Right, this is the point.

zichiToday  05:11 pm JST

Do you live in Japan because I see women with hijabs here?

Totally off topic--this article is about France.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I am far removed from youth Muslim culture but a couple of young Muslim men I know tell me that in western countries a woman wearing a head scarf is good to go, so maybe woman in France are sending a different signal than some politicians think.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

No, Mormons and Jehovah witnesses don't request to change public venues to fit their needs.

If you ever lived or worked someplace that is dominated by Mormons you would not say that. Also in my experience Jehova's Witnesses at least in the US are pushier than any Muslim I have met.

What the European nations fail so miserably at is incorporating their immigrants into their economies. They keep them separate, discriminate against them and naturally that creates resentment. In the US immigrants are more likely to start a business than native born, about three times more likely and as a result they become an inseparable part of the nation. They become citizens with a right to vote, something that is harder to do for immigrants in much of Europe. Plus when you have a business and a family and are making some money you are not going to become a radical and try to destroy the very thing that made you prosperous.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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