Background to the French commission on the burqa and niqab

April 28, 2010 — News

Written by IRR European News Team

As Belgium and France move to ban the burqa, the IRR European Race Audit (ERA) publishes today a briefing paper on ‘The background to the French parliamentary commission on the burqa and niqab’.

­It examines how André Gerin, the Communist Party mayor of Vénissieux, ignited the debate on the voile intégral in a country where, it is estimated, that a total of 2,000 women wear the burqa. It describes the various arguments used to justify the ban from upholding laïcité to opposing the rise of Salafism and defending the freedom and dignity of women.

The IRR European Race Audit publishes regular briefings to draw attention to aspects of European racism today and their impact on minority communities.

Download the free briefing papers at the links below.

Related links

Download ERA Briefing Paper no.3: ‘The background to the French parliamentary commission on the burqa and niqab’ (pdf file, 145kb)

Download ERA Briefing Paper no.2: ‘Direct democracy, racism and the extreme Right’ (pdf file, 200kb)

Download ERA Briefing Paper no.1: ‘The Swiss referendum on minarets: background and aftermath’ (pdf file, 152kb)

Read more about the work of the European Race Audit here

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.


May 11, 2010
Joanna Tegnerowicz:

The very interesting briefing paper “The background to the French parliamentary commission on the burqa and niqab” calls “Riposte Laïque” a “secularist feminist organization”. I am sure that the “Riposte Laïque” Web magazine fully deserves the name of an extreme-right one and even plainly racist one. It is enough to look at the cartoon under the article “France is in the state of civil war, it is a fact …” (“La France est en état de guerre civile, c’est un fait…”): six young men from ethnic minorities are kicking a helpless man while shouting: “Finish him off ! His chalk-white face is disgusting, it is the face of a victim” (“Il dégoute avec sa face de craie, sa tête de victime”) and “We don’t respect your fucking law ! We respect Islam and the law of the strongest !”. The article enumerates acts of violence presented as committed by young men from ethnic minorities against white victims. At least in one of the cases the fact that the victim was herself black (a young girl of Malian descent was twice gang-raped in Ulis, Essonne) is characteristically omitted. I think that if one analyzed the contents of the “Riposte Laïque” Web magazine, one would find lots of other examples of articles and cartoons of a racist, xenophobic and islamophobic character.

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