There is magic in Muslim women’s voices. It has suspended the burkini ban in France, defended Ghazala Khan with #CanYouHearUsNow, and launched this incredible website to amplify what it means to be who we are — something that mainstream media does not show.
Our voices are so compelling, it has the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls outraged.
The New York Times posted an article titled, “‘The Way People Look at Us Has Changed’: Muslim Women on Life in Europe,” containing excerpts from real Muslim women living in Europe.
They not only respond to the controversial Burkini Ban, but also the ostracizing and discrimination from Islamophobes whenever they go about their day.
[Valls] goes on to criticize the author of the article and the women behind it for ‘questioning the vast majority of Muslim women who do not recognize themselves in an ultra-legalistic vision of Islam.’
On Monday, the Prime Minister published this editorial to the Huffington Post titled, “In France, women are free.”
He claims that, “Throughout its history, its geography, its immigration, France has maintained strong links with Islam. […] Millions of [Muslims] live and enjoy their rights fully.”
However, he goes on to criticize the author of the article and the women behind it for “questioning the vast majority of Muslim women who do not recognize themselves in an ultra-legalistic vision of Islam.”
What does not add up is how in the beginning he knows nothing but bad things about Islam, perceives France as an accepting country, and yet silences the citizens who want their country to maintain respect. That does not sound like a peace of mind. That sounds like privilege.
The Prime Minister then brings up the subject of the burkini ban, which in the New York Times article, was not the main idea. He defends his statement with, “This is not harmless. It is provocation, radical Islam that arises and wants to impose itself in the public space!”
He then finishes with “I saw how part of [the ban] hastily concluded that stigma, the harm to freedom of Muslims to practice their religion… But finally! It is precisely for freedom that we fight.” Does that mean that Muslims have to fight the same battle the French did just for freedom of religion? He did not live at a time when people like him were fighting for religious freedom. Again, that sounds like privilege.
From a feminist’s viewpoint, the Prime Minister’s standards of how women should dress is unacceptable. “Women’s bodies are neither pure nor impure. They are women’s bodies. They do not have to be hidden to protect some sort of temptation.” That means that the issues women face with how they present their bodies are misunderstood. Again, that sounds like privilege.
For the rest of the editorial, Valls then goes on to defend France’s treatment of Muslims and how it is continuing to become an accepting country. He just keeps contradicting himself, but I’m not going to waste your time.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. quoted, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people.” Maybe the PM should take that into consideration instead of crying his white tears on the New York Times.