Friday, July 11, 2008

Muslim Woman To Submissive To Be French

Over the past years there have been many incidents proving the high level of xenophobia in France.  More often than not the group that is targeted for ostracisation are Muslims.   It was French courts that annulled a marriage when a woman admitted to not being a virgin, and now A Muslim woman has been denied citizenship because her practice of Islam is deemed to be counter to French culture.

It seems even though the French Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, apparently the court saw fit to draw the line at women who wear burkas and are submissive to the male members of their families.  According to the Council of State, "She has adopted a radical practice of her religion, incompatible with essential values of the French community, particularly the principle of equality of the sexes." She is married to a French national, and has three children of French citizenship.

So the question is, who exactly is worthy of the honour of being French?  Submission to males is not a uniquely Muslim trait.  Many women are submissive to the husbands that beat them for fear of their lives.  For some women, submission to the forces of patriarchy is all that is keeping them alive. Are they too be punished for this?  Many women have internalized female hatred simply because society promotes women as second class citizens, are they worthy of exclusion as well?

This  is a convenient adaptation of gender inequality to support racism. Women matter when it is convenient. This incident is no different than the US government citing the abuse that Afghani women were living under during the Taliban regime to support their invasion.  When the Taliban were in power and womens groups were up in arms about the rape and mass murder of women, the US government did not attack them, no they invited them to the White House on a state visit.  The possibility of an Oil pipeline was more important than the lives of women. 

Gender equality cannot be used as a justification for evil. If you truly believe in the equality of the sexes, it can only proved by taking actions that do not  marginalize, exploit or demean women in any way.  Denying citizenship to this woman is simply a cover for the rising anti-Muslim feelings in French society. It is unacceptable, and it is wrong.  There was a time when France stood for democracy and was a beacon to the world, today it represents repression of the worst sort. 


Greg said...

"She has no idea about the secular state or the right to vote. She lives in total submission to her male relatives. She seems to find this normal and the idea of challenging it has never crossed her mind," Emmanuelle Prada-Bordenave wrote.

Isn't there a law in your country that says that to become a citizen you must know its history and laws ?

It seems she doesn't and that's why she was refused.

Renee said...

This is part of the practice of her religion and to not honor that is to discriminate against her. Considering the terms of her life as she lives it, what use is this knowledge to her?

Greg said...

"what use is this knowledge to her?"

What use is the french nationality to her then ?

If she doesn't know the laws and coutumes of the country she lives in and has no interests in them why should we give her the nationality ?

Tne nationality is not given for the simple reason that you've lived in the country for some time.
I do not know about Canada but here secular laws come before religious one.

Why should we care her holy book prevents her from knowing our laws or from having any interest in them ?

Might as well givve the nationality to the winner of a lottery

Renee said...

You should care because of the freedom of religion is in your constitution therefore to deny her citizenship is to say that she is not free to practice her religion.

Greg said...

But she IS free to practice her religion. What she can't expect is for the law to bend over backward and excuse her lack of knowledge in the country she lives in because her books tell her so.

Our Constitution says that we have the freedom of religion, true. But it also says that France is a secular country (laic in the french constitution, where in the US and canada secular means that the state cannot touch the church, in france it mostly works the other way around, the church as no business dictating to the state.

She wants to follow her religion ? Fine.

But if I read the article correctly she speaks french yet knows nothing of the country, and as not tried to learn anything about it.

Why should we give her the nationality when she has shown that she has no interest in integration. The Catholics understand, the protestant understand, I don't see why muslim should have a free pass.

Greg said...

My english is horrible sorry about that.

Renee said...

@ greg Tu parle anglais bien. je pense que France a besoin de beinvenue beaucoupe de person a votre payee. Mon francais et tres mal. Parfois je parle francais comme un vache espanignole. I thought I would meet you half way and try...I understand it more than I speak...but if you have trouble in english between us we can sort some of it out in French...
The point is that her religion specifically forbids her to learn what the government is demanding her to learn hence a violation of her right to practice her religion. The idea that a person must give up their culture to become a citizen of another country is extremely problematic. What constitutes someone who is French? She already speaks the language and much culture is practiced and maintained through language if this were not the case language rights would not be such an issue...think Canada and Quebec.
It also states that the government has a problem regarding equality of the sexes. Apparently the fact that she is submissive to the males in her family is also an issue. Practicing sexism to alleviate sexism is a never ending circle. Applying this to immigration law means targeting Muslim women and not only is that sexist, it is xenophobic and racist.

David said...

I would say to Greg and Renee that I understand the issue of social integration when anyone chooses to live in a country other than that of their birth.

However; I do not understand forcible female genital mutilation. I do not understand pre pubescent girls being forced into adult marriages as children. I do not understand women being deprived of basic humanitarian social rights such as education. I do not understand that women are violently beaten and even killed for socio political cultural reasons and it is considered acceptable within their societies.

Perhaps within this framework, the comments of this writer will be more understandable when you consider her points of reference.

Renee said...

@David "I do not understand forcible female genital mutilation. I do not understand pre pubescent girls being forced into adult marriages as children. I do not understand women being deprived of basic humanitarian social rights such as education. I do not understand that women are violently beaten and even killed for socio political cultural reasons"

The aforementioned by you were not issues in this this case at all. The issue is that this woman wears a burka (not an illegal garment) and that she is submissive to her male relatives. These are certainly not choices that I would agree with but this is her choice. Even when we do not agree with decisions of women if we respect autonomy we have to respect their choices.

lujlp said...

So if she wants to retaint every aspect of her culture thaen why does she want citezenship in a country so fundementally different?

Freedom of religion does not allow for the violation of soverign laws.

In america you have to pass a test as part of the process, should your religion not allow you to learn the facts required to pass the test then you would obviously fail the citzenship process.

Why should religion be an autoatic pass for failing the process?

Why should an irrational belive in your imaginary freind be a end run around the law?

hexy said...

I think what everyone is missing is that these same beliefs (that women should cover up and be submissive to men) don't seem to be stopping Muslim men from gaining French citizenship. Her husband, who clearly agrees with her, is French... yet I don't see anyone focussing on how much he fails at being French because of his beliefs.

If her French partner shares her beliefs, and this is not problematic, how can those beliefs when held by her make her a poor candidate for France? There's a French person right there in her house who matches her perspectives perfectly!

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