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Anti-Muslim Bigotry

Sarkozy Distracting French Public by Crusading Against Muslim Women’s Rights to Hijab



With input from resident MM Frenchman, Nadim

In stark contrast to Obama’s call for respecting the Muslim women’s right to observe hijab, as well as the lack of any official effort in the United States to prevent a Muslim woman from chosing to wear whatever she wishes to, Sarkozy has launched a frontal attack on the Burka (the hot-button word for full niqaab).

The reference of burka has another dimension to it since that is the common terminology for Afghani-style hijab/niqab, where France has recently sent troops. Thus, building the propaganda of “fighting for womens rights” as a means to justify its unpopular war.

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This French President, described in a recent book (failed to be blocked from publication — so much for free speech!) as an uncaring father and a womanizer wants to now tell Muslim women how to dress. I’d like to ask Sarkozy that if he can tell us how we should dress, then under equal rights of the “republic”, why can’t Muslims tell French women how not to dress?  We are even willing to donate some extra clothing material to help the near-nudity on display everyday in this model nation!

For a President to devote significant time to the hijab in an important speech to the Parliament, the first one since the 19th century, is a clear indication that Sarkozy is running out of ideas to save the country from its economic and social ills. By letting the public focus on a clearly divisive issue, but one whose inherent prejudice bonds French citizens across the political spectrum, Sarkozy wants to use this “coalition of bigots” to distract the public from real problems.

This low-level terror against minorities is not a new phenomenon. Historically, other tyrants and dictators have used anger and prejudice against minorities to help their own standing with the people. Hitler used the Jewish people as his whipping-boy. Sarkozy is on the same track, albeit several steps back. But mark my words: if this helps him, he will continue on the path of trying to implement this French sense of superiority over its Muslim minority, to the point that it will cause more fissures between the Muslim community and the non-Muslim majority.

On the path of this “Frenchize” culture would be a ban on beards. Far fetched? Think again. The French government was ready to deny entry of students who wear a beard since beards can be interpreted as a religious sign. This was only rejected because the head of the schools realized that it was too difficult to manage, not because it would be against freedom of religion.

If Sarkozy thinks that he can force the will of the majority over its minority in the matter of dress choice, then he is sadly mistaken, and setting the French society up for a massive clash.

It is interesting that many Europeans fled Europe for America’s shores about three centuries ago to escape religious persecution. While Europe has claimed great progress in freedom of religion, time and time again, we see the rise of religious persecution. It seems that some people can never quite get it right on rights, and Sarkozy is just another stark example of what’s wrong with Europe, and France in particular.


May Allah protect our Muslim sisters from cultural terror and religious persecution wherever it raises its ugly head, and may He protect them and allow them to wear whatever they choose to wear, when done solely for the sake of their Lord.

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Abu Reem is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Abu Reem is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").



  1. faraj

    June 23, 2009 at 12:07 AM

    Ameen! Jazakhallah khair brother for raising the awareness. May Allah(swt) defeat enemies of Islam, Ameen.

  2. Yasir Qadhi

    June 23, 2009 at 12:16 AM

    It is essential to understand these developments not only in light of the rising population of Muslims in France (many of whom are from underprivileged backgrounds and living in sub-standard ghettoized conditions), but also in light of France’s rather unique and, at times, hostile definition of secularism, known as laicity.

    The French have been indoctrinated into viewing any overt display of religion, and especially discussion of religion in a political context, as somehow infringing on that laicity, which they hold more sacred than God Himself . This concept is in fact enshrined in the the very first article of their constitution. While these laws were originally formulated to diminish the power of the Catholic church, of late they have been wielded by increasingly Islamophobic politicians to garner up more votes and support from their constituents.

    The situation for the Muslims in France is perhaps the most volatile in all of Europe; the social and political factors that they find themselves in are of the most unique in the Western world. This situation is one that we should all be watching and reading up on, for obvious reasons.

    May Allah make their affairs easy for them, and guide them to fight for their religious rights in a legitimate manner – one that preserves their dignity and does not harm their cause.

    • Atif

      June 23, 2009 at 1:21 AM

      Why can’t they see the contradiction? To forbid hijab is an overt display of religion: the religion of forbidding what Allah has made obligatory. At the end of the day, he is enforcing his own religious beliefs in the political context.

      He says, “The burka is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience”. Yes, subservience to God! Has he no sense??

    • anonymoslim

      June 23, 2009 at 9:29 AM

      Salamu alaykum Sh. Yasir,

      I wanted to ask, that in a nutshell how is the best way/arguments to adebate/refute/discuss/show the fallacy of the extreme secularist positions.

      Are there any points which you think are worthy of us keeping in mind or worthy of mention?


      • Yasir Qadhi

        June 23, 2009 at 1:45 PM

        Very good question; I wish I had all the answers!

        But some basic tangents that should be researched:

        1) The meaning of loyalty to the state (a.k.a. nationalism) and the ways that it has been abused and misused in the last century. Many of those claiming to be ‘free and democratic’ are acting eerily similar to the fascism and Communism that they were so mortally opposed to a few decades ago.

        2) The history of Western values (terms such as ‘freedom’, ‘democracy’, ‘separation of church and state’, etc.). These are empty slogans, devoid of real meaning, because each group uses it with a different connotation. Even the grandparents of this generation viewed these exact terms in a different light. How did these terms evolve, and why are they considered so sacred in our time – to such an extent that merely questioning their sanctity brings about charges of heresy (or, to be more precise, treason!)

        3) The purpose and role of a modern state. What we are seeing is that the modern secular state (and in particular America), which was founded on the premise of being as non-interfering in the private and religious lives of its citizens as possible, has in fact become just as dogmatic and overpowering as any orthodox religion. It demands the same ultimate loyalty, and expects the same sacrifices, as a god would. Yet that is not the original intent or role of these political institutions, and if they continue down this route they will inevitably fail. No human being will love a man-made institution like he will the Being whom he believes created him, hence if the state attempts to curtail that love, they are asking for trouble and eventually bringing about their own downfall.

        The basic point is: we really do need to work hard to ensure our right to practice our faith. And that work will require not just faith and worship, but also practical and educated steps in the ‘secular world’ as well.

        There is no doubt that ultimate victory is by the grace of Allah, but Allah Himself has conditioned that victory on our striving to achieve the goals and working hard to get there. And part of that working hard is getting involved with the system as long as it allows us to do so, and this is clearly what we infer from the prophetic seerah as well.

        • Ahmed

          June 23, 2009 at 8:15 PM

          Statement of the day:

          What we are seeing is that the modern secular state (and in particular America), which was founded on the premise of being as non-interfering in the private and religious lives of its citizens as possible, has in fact become just as dogmatic and overpowering as any orthodox religion. It demands the same ultimate loyalty, and expects the same sacrifices, as a god would.

          masha-Allah! Ya Shaykh, may Allah (SWT) increase you in knowledge, wisdom and taqwa.

        • Muhammad

          June 24, 2009 at 12:57 AM

          zaadakallah hikmah!

          • J

            June 24, 2009 at 9:49 AM

            I agree with brother Ahmed. That paragraph is profound!

  3. Pingback: Sarkozy Distracting French Public by Crusading Against Muslim Women’s Rights to Hijab « Words of love.. words for love…

  4. Ibn Masood

    June 23, 2009 at 1:33 AM

    Ameen ya Sheikh!

    Well done on the article akhi… JazakAllah khair for bringing some much needed insight into the issue.

  5. Nadim

    June 23, 2009 at 1:40 AM

    Also, at a time where his party just won the European elections, Sarkozy is becoming overconfident that he can move to the next item on his agenda backed by his Zionist friends: crush the rise of the Muslims, and unfortunately, our sisters are the weakest, most recognizable target. The crusade continue…

  6. Dawud Israel

    June 23, 2009 at 3:16 AM

    I think one way in which we can help our sisters and brothers in France, here, is to find ways to magnify “Ummah Consciousness” or “Ummah Solidarity,” similar to what Ibn Khaldun talks about with Asabiyyah. Discussion happens…yes, but it should go more beyond just talking about it. This is where the challenge is I believe.

    May Allah help the Muslims in France, Ameen.
    Jazaka Allahu khayr for provoking post and comments.

  7. Mehedi Islam

    June 23, 2009 at 7:55 AM

    I think digg website have banned this domain, i can’t seem to submit any articles. So I added the same article to my blog (with cred to muslim matters) and digged it

    • amad

      June 23, 2009 at 9:54 AM

      salam Mehedi,
      jazakallahkhair for doing so.

      If I may request, pls add author and website article link right at the the top of the post, before the text.


  8. Faraz Omar

    June 23, 2009 at 8:56 AM

    Very very well said Masha Allah. Baarak Allah feek. May Allah increase ur ilm and give u understanding of Islam.

    I just have one slight issue with the last sentence:

    may He protect them and allow them to wear whatever they choose to wear, when done solely for the sake of their Lord.

    Is that valid?

    • Amad

      June 23, 2009 at 9:49 AM

      as you know there is ikhtilaaf on what constitutes proper and full hijaab, mainly on niqaab’s obligation. That is what the sentence implies.

  9. Ahmed

    June 23, 2009 at 9:29 AM

    For all the complaints Muslims have about living in America, it’s stories like this one that make me happy to be here.

    May Allah give our sisters and brothers in France — and around the world — sabr and strength.

    • amad

      June 23, 2009 at 9:56 AM

      Yes, absolutely. I agree. There’s a reason that Puritans left Europe for America’s shores. Muslims find themselves in similar situation three hundred years later. No one in American political mainstream would dare to say such things as it would be purely unAmerican. It wouldn’t make sense actually. Why is it the government’s business to regulate what anyone wears??

  10. Sa`id

    June 23, 2009 at 9:31 AM

    SubhanAllah, a country that has public nude beaches and “soft” pornography on daily television feels that they should be in a position to tell woman how to dress.

  11. Pingback: Sarkozy: A womanizer wants to now tell Muslim women how to dress «

  12. Nahyan Inc

    June 23, 2009 at 1:25 PM

    Jazakallahukhair for the article, it’s really mind-boggling how people can be extreme with their view on “freedom” and imposing their understanding of it on others.

    Ameen to the du’a, May Allah help them and make them strong.

    A point to consider
    – this is more reason for Muslims, especially in the West, for us to go outside our bubble and to the larger communities we live in.

    It can’t just be Muslims wining and crying for Muslim rights, we must be a community that brings great value to everyone around us so that they will see the impact of Islam in “their” own countries.

  13. Robin

    June 23, 2009 at 2:05 PM

    I was ordained a Christian clergyman (Lutheran). As a Christian, I am appalled and ashamed at the treatment of Muslims in Western countries. I think France is perhaps worst of all, as it has a tradition of tolerance. The French President is not upholding anything except bigotry and hatred. If I were cynically minded, I’d say that Mr. Sarkozy is just trying to get a better look at Muslim women for his own tawdry reasons. As a Christian, Muslims are my brothers and sisters, made in the image of the Almighty just as we all are.

    • Amad

      June 23, 2009 at 5:11 PM

      Robin, appreciate the kind words.

      Reminds me of the verse in Quran [5:85]:

      …And nearest among them in love To the Believers wilt thou Find those who say, “We are Christians”: Because amongst these are Men devoted to learning And men who have renounced The world, and they Are not arrogant.

  14. ibrahim

    June 23, 2009 at 2:52 PM

    Aamin.Sarkozy lost his empty mind.May Allah teach him lesson.If a Muslima wants to wear Hijab on her own then what will you do?We Muslims don’t force our women to wear Hijab.Sarkozy is trying to fight with Muslim world as they did in the past!But he forgets that their these comments makes us MORE stronger.

    • Saaima

      June 23, 2009 at 9:06 PM

      Exactly! As a Muslim woman, I *choose* to wear hijab because I follow Islam, not because someone forced me to.

  15. Ibn AbuAisha

    June 23, 2009 at 4:49 PM

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    BarakAllahu Feek Brothers Amad and Nadim for the insightful article.

    Shaykhana Yasir, are there any books that you would recommend which somewhat discuss the Muslim presence in France or Europe (from a historical perspective or otherwise), something like Sherman Jackson’s Islam and the Blackamerican: Looking toward the Third Resurrection which you recommended in your Islam in America Speech?

    May Allah reward you and your family abundantly. Ameen.

    • Mouloud Alouane

      June 23, 2009 at 6:15 PM

      Salaam Brother,

      There is a book which gives a comprehensive history of Muslim minorities and also higlights challenging issues facing Muslim communities in most European societies, including Eastern Europe:

      Muslim Communities in The New Europe,
      Edited by Gerd Nonneman, Tim Niblock and Bogdan Szajkowski.
      Published by ITHACA PRESS (1997).
      I hope you will enjoy reading it. However, please lgive feedback
      Mouloud Alouane.

  16. amad

    June 23, 2009 at 6:09 PM

    And while France burns in its own vain superiority complex, Belgium gets a muhajiba sister in parliament. Scorecard!

  17. Saaima

    June 23, 2009 at 9:10 PM

    Btw, who died and made Sarkozy a spokesperson for Muslim women?

  18. Ammar

    June 23, 2009 at 10:53 PM

    Time for hijrah

  19. MentalMuslim

    June 23, 2009 at 11:39 PM


    If the West (including France) champions democracy and freedom of religion, why are people being enforced to wear a certain type of clothing? Where’s the liberty in that?

  20. 'Uthmaan

    June 24, 2009 at 8:52 AM

    As-salaamu ‘Alaykum

    Would it be possible for one of learned Shuyukh on MM to dedicate a post regarding the legitimacy of the Burka/Niqab in light of Islamic evidences? Wallaahi this is an issue that confuses many Muslims, including myself. Some say that it is a practice that pre-dates Islam. Others say it is a modern practice that originated in Afghanistan.

    I would appreciate it if one of our knowledgeable posters could set the record straight once and for all on what the Qur’an, the Sunnah and the Salaf have to say on the issue.

    BaarakAllah Feekum

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  23. Cobbler

    June 24, 2009 at 12:18 PM

    There is a growing trend in Europe in general that is tending towards a neo-fascism packaged sometimes in a liberal but always in a nationalist and anti-immigrant package. Sarkozy is pandering to some of these sentiments. Here is one article on such individuals, Geert Wilders.

    The surprising thing though is that this law they are proposing has support from a cross current of political groups and from what I understand was brought up by the Communists and in some ways is particular to the almost strict and religious stature of Secularism in France. Obama made a swipe at this in his speech in Cairo and I don’t think it went unnoticed by the French. My question though is, is it referring to Hijab which covers the hair or is it about burka in which their is a mesh even over the eyes, and will niqab be allowed?


    • Robin

      June 24, 2009 at 12:46 PM

      One of the things that sets the USA and Canada apart from France is that secularism has been in service of freedom of religion in North America. France is predominantly Roman Catholic, and the struggles from the Revolution on have been against the then-established Church. In the USA, adherents to many churches, many in conflict, settled for the purpose of practising their religion in peace. The constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion were established so as to not allow any of the many churches to become established. In somewhat different ways, much of this is essentially true in Canada as well. In short, Secularism in France has been a force at odds with the established religious order, and secularism can be a force at odds with all religious expression. (In Quebec, where for so long the Catholic Church dominated society, one can also find this sort of “militant secularism”.) On the other hand, the building of a secular state in the US has been more to ensure that no religious group has an upper hand, and that all might feel free to practise their religion. Admittedly, this has not always held, and even today, people here seem to think this only applies to Protestant Christians, but the courts have usually seen it otherwise. This is very brief and simplistic. By the way, even though a religious Christian, politically, I am light years to the left of Obama and the Democratic Party.

      • Cobbler

        June 24, 2009 at 1:48 PM


        Thank you for that very astute reply. I agree, and I think you’ll find most Muslims see the value of the concept of secularism and how it is practiced in America as opposed to France and some of the European nations.

        It is interesting that the secularism in France initially was a response to the establishment of the Church and its power and now has morphed into what it is today — is it a problem the French have with religion in general?

        • Robin

          June 24, 2009 at 2:55 PM

          I’m not at all sure whether this is a problem that the French have with religion in general. I think it may be that in France, “Secularism” may have reached a level equivalent to religious establishment. What I wonder is, if this kind of law is passed against Muslims — and this is, right now, a law against Islam, hitting at women Muslims — when is there going to be a law against the garb worn by Christian monastics, nuns in particular?

          Make no mistake: this law has many supporters here. My wife tells me that a friend of ours supports it, and she is a professed advocate of civil and human rights. Many Westerners, especially white, middle-class professional and academic “feminists” see this law as a law “liberating” women from oppressive Islam. On that, a posting some days ago on the CBC, someone pointed out that Western women are hardly free in matters of dress, citing the expectations of fashion and work-place dress norms and dress codes.

          White, middle-class Westerners are always ready to tell other people how to live: they are great ones at denying that basic human right, self-determination.

  24. Abdullah Zahir

    June 24, 2009 at 2:07 PM

    ‘Actions speak louder than words.’

    The words Sarkozy spoke were despicable and outrageous.

    Amad, you’ve now written a well-researched and interesting piece exposing the evil and folly of Sarkozy’s deliberate choice of words against us; before writing this you should have already written similarly well-researched and sensible pieces exposing the evil and folly of Obama’s deliberate choice of actions against us.

    Indeed, Sarkozy’s speech against us fits very well with his country’s answering Obama’s call to the world to join him in his despicable and outrageous actions against us–his increasing troops in Afghanistan and Pakistan; his intensifying bombings and killings of Muslims; his driving millions of us out of our homes in Pakistan and Afghanistan and then praising himself and America for giving financial aid to Pakistan; and, all the while, his calling on others, including France and even including us Muslims, to join him in his war against us in the name of rooting out what he, like his comrade Bush before him, call extremism and terror and a grave threat.

    The same speech that you direct us toward so that we can soak in Obama’s hollow words regarding hijab, also has his loaded words in which he invokes the sham government story of the 9/11 attacks–which he tells us is a fact not open for debate–as justification for his escalation of killing us Muslims in Afghanistan and Pakistan and driving us out of our homes.

    Keep things in perspective, Amad.

    I don’t like Sarkozy. Do you?

    This piece communicates that you don’t.

    I don’t like Obama. Do you?

    I am one of many readers who are dissappointed in your lack of balance and await well-researched and sensible pieces from you exposing Obama’s outrageous wrongdoings and demanding us to stand up and take him to task–not to thank him–wrongdoings which eclipse his occasional decent-sounding utterances, contradict them, and expose them for the shameless boldfaced lies that they are.

    You can write, for instance, on any of the following current news or its like:

    –his drones bombing our Muslim brothers and sisters today and then bombing our funeral in which we bury the dead from the first bombing.
    –Obama’s drones bombing our Muslim brothers and sisters in Pakistan from January until now
    –his drones bombing Muslims in Afghanistan
    –how about his proposal for ‘prolonged detentions

  25. Sarkozy

    June 24, 2009 at 3:08 PM

    Look guys, I think you are being unfairly harsh on me. I’m just trying to rally my base and turn attention away from the economy. So go easy on me!

  26. muslimah

    June 25, 2009 at 7:22 AM

    how different is sarkozy from taliban when he prevents muslim women from covering up when they do so voluntarily? what else can you expect from someone who doesnt mind his wife stripping down for a photo shoot?

  27. DrM

    June 26, 2009 at 4:16 AM

    What a surprise. A zionist Jew and former Mossad agent pretending to be a French gentile doesn’t like burqa. I think its high time for a “stop westernization” campaign…

  28. Amatullah

    June 26, 2009 at 2:14 PM

  29. Phil

    September 1, 2009 at 3:07 AM

    Just a request. Don’t conflate Hijab with niqab and niqab with burka.

  30. adil

    October 12, 2009 at 10:49 AM

    I live In France
    Sarkozy became the enemy of all Muslims In France!

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