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

We were initially alerted to this story by Al-Kanz. Ali Abunimah of the Electric Intifada subsequently translated a portion of the report from Le Parisien.

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

by Ali Abunimah (Electronic Intifada)

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 blackhijab [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 practicelaïcité 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 not illegal.

However, 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.

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  • Deir Haleem

    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”:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9Bs3tF1jj0
    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/video/c7a52ed41e3s.html
    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.

  • Garibaldi

    LeParisien reported this in their video as an Islamophobic incident which is what Ali Abunimah reported as well. These women who were arrested, many of them were tourists who were not even part of any “demonstrations,” that is the crux of why Electronic Intifada and LeParisien, CCIF, Al-Kanz labeled this an Islamophobic incident.

  • Ilisha

    @relief

    Because we CROSS POSTED someone else’s article, and they came up with the headline. Can you grasp the concept of a cross post?

    France is supposed to be so big on democratic rights, I think a better question is why were protests prohibited in the first place? In any case, if you can find some proof this woman wasn’t arrested for her hijab, then post it and we’ll add an update.

  • relief

    She was part of a group that disobeyed a lawful order and the video seems to show others also taken away and the article states: “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.” So she was not singled out.

    And what kind of defense is “In any case, this is a cross post, and LW didn’t come up with the headline.”

  • Ilisha

    @relief

    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.”

    Why was she being taken away by police in the first place? Just for being in the square? If so, why was she singled out? In any case, this is a cross post, and LW didn’t come up with the headline.

  • relief

    So no one else cares about the misleading (at best) LW headline to this story?

  • http://engineering4logic@wordpress.com Ali

    These french authorities are such HYPOCRITES! They say they fight for liberty when infact they fight for immorality they claim they fight for freedom when infact they ban the respectful clothing of niqab they say they fight for peace when infact they kill INNOCENT HUMAN BEINGS in afganistan and support israel which is killing INNOCENT HUMAN BEINGS in palestine and now they want to ban the head scarf?!?!?! SHAME ON YOU FRANCE!

  • amok

    Why aren’t you publishing my comment? Embarrased to be exposed as liars?

  • relief

    But I see nothing in this article about anyone being arrested for wearing a headscarf. The article says they were arrested for ignoring a legal order to disperse. My French is not god enough to follow everything in the video but there didn’t seem to be anything there that indicated they were arrested for headscarves.

  • Talal

    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.

    This was always going to happen.

    First the Niqab, then the hijab, skull caps, then we end up like 15th century spain, asking people to drop their shorts so they could see if they were circumsised, and if they were, kicking them out for the country….

  • Sir David ( Illuminati membership number 5:32)

    Interesting video. I would be interested in finding out what happened next.
    Incidently these are not the regular police . They are the very scary CRS , the riot police officially part of the Army ( think national guard on steroids ) you can tell by the kit they are wearing. They are not nice folks nor subtle.

    Sir David
    Angers

  • Khalid Shah

    Not sure I understand the Anti-Loon aspect of this story.

    There was a time I used to like the French and everything about them. I hope they recover the goodness within them. Same can be said of many nations right now, including our own. I hope we recover the goodness within us.

  • mindy1

    Let them wear what they want to for crying out loud

  • Garibaldi

    These values have always been applied unequally and selectively it seems to me.

  • Bob

    What ever happened to liberté, égalité, and fraternité? Freedom of expression, freedom of assembly? The French are really protecting their democracy!

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