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European Loonieness: What is Going on?


French Immigration Minister, Eric Besson

What is going on in Europe? Some have postulated that Europe is going through an identity crisis that challenges the core universal values that it trumpets, while others like the more conservative populists warn of a transformation of Europe at the hands of barbaric Muslim hordes remaking Europe into a Eurabia.

The dialogue has gotten heated, and we have seen a rise in neo-fascist and Euro-supremacist groups who are leading Europe into a dangerous direction of greater Islamophobia. This dialogue has a way of polluting reality which then effects mainstream parties who see this rise in anti-Muslim sentiment and for political gain drop their universal values and resort to cheap populist rhetoric.


At the same time that Muslims across Europe are integrated into their countries and identify with their nations to a greater extent than their fellow citizens, it seems their fellow citizens view them increasingly with suspicion (with the exception of Britain). This has lead to initiatives that are truly shocking to anyone who believes in Democracy, such as the recent ban on minarets in Switzerland which has echoed across Europe, from Italy to Denmark with parties such as the Northern League and Geert Wilders saying they will follow suit.

Recently France has been the scene of some of the most strident Islamophobia, and moves that from the perspective of an outsider smack of an attack on Democracy. We have heard of the desecration’s of Mosques and Muslim graves, but this has all happened in light of statements like this from French junior minister Nadine Morano,

In one of the many local debates scheduled to be held as part of the nationwide discussion on what it means to be French, the junior minister for families, Nadine Morano, suggested Tuesday to a young Muslim that he should change his behaviour. “What I want of a young Muslim is that he loves France when he lives here, finds work and does not speak in slang. And that he doesn’t wear his cap back to front.”

This discussion follows an earlier discussion around the niqab, or full face veil that a small minority of Muslim women wear in France. If you recall, Nicholas Sarkozy inaugurated the first presidential address to France’s parliament in decades with a call to ban the niqab.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s party, the UMP, says it will push for a law banning the full-face Islamic veil, according to its parliamentary leader Jean-François Copé.

“The issue is not how many women wear the burqa,” Copé wrote in an article in the right-wing newspaper Le Figaro. “There are principles at stake: extremists are putting the republic to the test by promoting a practice that they know is contrary to the basic principles of our country.”

It seems the principles of the French Republic do not include women choosing to wear what they want. Banning the niqab is not enough, just yesterday the French Immigration minister Eric Besson said that he wants to make it law that women who wear the face veil be denied citizenship and residency cards.

France’s immigration minister said Wednesday that he wants the wearing of Muslim veils that cover the face and body to be grounds for denying citizenship and long-term residence.

Eric Besson said he planned to take “concrete measures” regarding such veils, which are worn by a small minority of women in France but have become the object of a parliamentary inquiry into whether a ban should be imposed. Besson spoke during a hearing before the panel of lawmakers as their nearly six-month inquiry draws to a close.

Besson said he believed a formal ban on veils that cover the face and body seemed to him “unavoidable,” with a ban in public services as a minimum step. Whether such veils are banned or not, he said he intends to personally move forward to ensure that women wearing such veils and seeking French nationality or residence cards are denied.

“I want the wearing of the full veil to be systematically considered as proof of insufficient integration into French society, creating an obstacle to gaining (French) nationality,” he said. He said he would advise prefects, the highest state representative in the various French regions, that the wearing of such veils is a motive for not delivering 10-year residence cards.

Besson said he was prepared to put the measures before parliament to make them law. In November, Besson ordered a nationwide debate on the French identity, to conclude by the end of January with possible measures.

This raises a whole number of questions: what about those French women who were born in France, whether descended from immigrants or indigenous who have taken up the veil, will they have their citizenship revoked? What if a woman immigrated to France but didn’t wear a veil but decided to wear one since, will she be denied citizenship?

These anti-Democratic measures have opened a pandora’s box of bigotry and racism that is leading Europe into an essentialized discourse that doesn’t bode very well for the future, as one French Law maker said, “This brings back the ethnic vision of the nation, the one that took place at (the pro-Nazi puppet government of) Vichy.”

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  • peter

    if muslim women in france want to wear their hideous black tents than they are not trying to integrate into the french society , they should go back to their arabic shithole countries . woemn in islam are treated like garbage , it’s all in the koran , read it for yourself . why would anyone want to wear that tent is beyondm me , people in islamic countries get slaughtered for not wearing it , even here in canada there have been honour killings when young girls refused to wear it and got killed by their familiies , so it’s not allways the woman’s choice like the muslim women love to say .

  • Danios


    This is another case of justifying bigotry through rationalization. The anti-burqa ban is fueled by Islamophobia, and then they try to generate excuses/reasons to ban it. So this is one possible one you have found, and it is a very fixable situation: prohibit covering the face at banks.


  • Ferret
  • Diya

    I don’t get this part “Muslim women are being forced to wear the niqab”
    NO they are NOT… They are Choosing to wear it… So why is it that Europeans Gov’t are not listening to the women in Niqab when they are teling them “I choose to wear it”
    Why the Egyptian Gov’t isn’t listening to Women when they say Its my choice to wear it…”
    The Niqab isn’t manditory BUT a CHOICE In ISlam for a Muslimah to wear it… For a Country to take that right away but boast about Freedom of Choice and Religion is being a Hypocrit and following the Suit of the Curropt Maoism/ Stallen mentality: “A person has freedom to do what I say do”
    Where’s the freedom of religion or choice… Why does it bother these MEN in Office that they can’t get a hard on because a women is veiled?
    Because she choose not to she her lips or eyes?

    it’s only creepy because men have been so used to gazing a woman that the thought of takign it away upsets them…
    In the end I just see it as men want to get their rocks off and not being able to because the woman that passes by is in Niqab….

  • DrM

    French behavior is nothing new. A large minority of Europeans subscribe to racist beliefs. They never had a civil rights movement. Check out all the neo-nazi activity all over Europe. Murderous attacks on Indians in Australia. British soccer hooligans(EDL) in England. Czech attacks on the Roma. Italian attacks on African immigrants etc the list goes on and on :

    They can’t tell hijab apart from black skin.
    If you really believe in freedom, you would let people go about their business instead of forcing your inferior sad excuse of a culture upon them. That’s right, I said it. Putting aside wine, cheese, a 35 hour work week, selective hygiene, braided armpits, the French really don’t have much of a culture. Instead what we have here are a downright nasty bunch, no longer having an empire. These days the cheese eating surrender monkeys get their kicks bullying minorities. Poll after poll shows that it is most racist country in Europe. Now I don’t want to come off as mean spirited but this obsession with Muslim woman’s clothing has gone far enough. Its time to highlight some harsh truths. Some may consider marinating in a puddle of one’s own vomit at 2 A.M outside of pub “culture,” we don’t. We also don’t think its civilized for grown men to go around stabbing each other in the buttocks after a soccer match. Call us party poopers but we don’t think decriminalizing incest, beastiality, pedophelia is healthy for society. Rest on your faded laurels like an aging has been if you want to, but the rest of the world realises that not everyone wants to eat slugs, diseased cirrhotic goose livers and raw mince meat ….. sorry that would be ‘escargots’, ‘pate de foie gras’ and ‘steak tartare’, saying it with a French accent doesn’t make it any less repulsive.
    Now here’s the bottom line, don’t tell us what to wear, and we won’t tell you go jump in a lake full of crocodiles. No integration or assimilation with Nazi and fascist scum. Est-ce que vous me comprenez?

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