France Thwarts European Campaign To Normalize Freedom Of The Veil
The French authorities have foiled a campaign launched by the European Council against Discrimination, calling for the headscarf to be considered among the freedoms guaranteed by law, after a counter-campaign led by French politicians in the authority and the opposition, forcing the organizers of the campaign to stop it and think of new alternatives.
The campaign, which was launched last Thursday, for which the slogan “The Hijab Liberates” was chosen, came within the framework of a program dedicated to combating discrimination and funded by the European Union.
The promotional video for the canceled campaign shows animated images of half-veiled women, that is, half veiled and the other half not veiled.
The Council of Europe, which launched the campaign, is an organization concerned with the rule of law and human and social rights in the European continent. It was established after the end of the Second World War and includes dozens of countries inside and outside the Union.
While the campaign passed in the 27 countries of the European Union in normal circumstances, the situation in France was completely different, and even shocking, as it sparked off widespread controversy, which put the campaign organizers in front of the inevitability of withdrawing it from circulation the day before yesterday, Tuesday, due to the pressure exerted on it by the French government.
It seems that the thing that excited the French was the phrase included in the video: “Beauty is in diversity as well as freedom in (wearing) the hijab,” because France is the only European country that has banned women from wearing the hijab (Muslim Dress) in public places since 2011.
Unfortunately for those in charge of the campaign, it coincided with the rise in the level of political debate in France with the approach of the presidential elections, which made it a rich material for political bidding.
The French government was at the forefront of critics of the European campaign, which considers the veil as part of women’s freedom, and said through the Minister of State in charge of Youth, Sarah Al-Hiri, that France “expressed its strong rejection” of the European initiative.
What is striking in the matter is that some political figures known for their moderation, confronted the European campaign, such as Michel Barnier, the former chief European negotiator on the Brexit file, and the “Republicans” candidate for the presidential elections, who described the European Council initiative as “inappropriate”, because “the veil is not appropriate.” It is not a tool for women’s freedom, it is the opposite,” as he claimed.
Barnier called on those who launched this campaign to go to the Afghan capital, Kabul, to know the opinion of women there, at a time when he did not dare to call on his country’s government to consider the veil as part of women’s freedom, as is the case in the rest of the European Union countries.
The position of Valerie Pecresse, another candidate for the right, regarding the European campaign in support of the hijab, did not differ, and went on to say that this dress “is not a symbol of freedom, but a symbol of submission”, as is the case of the mayor of Nice Eric Ciotti, who considered the initiative as a “promotion of the Islamic veil”.
As for the extreme right, everything that is ugly is expected of it when it comes to Muslims and immigrants in general, and here is usually referred to as Marine Le Pen, also the presidential candidate, who described the European campaign in support of the Islamic veil as a “scandal”, as was the case of the likely candidate for the French presidency, schizophrenic Eric Zemmour, who described the Council of Europe’s initiative as an “advertising jihad”.
The question that the French have to answer is: Why do you agree with the Europeans on everything except when it comes to the Muslim community? It is the tying knot that the French have to break free from.