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Jail sentence for French Niqabi


By Iman Khalaf- MM News Correspondent from London

A 32-year old mother is set to become the first woman imprisoned by the French government following its introduction of the niqab ban in April.  Hind Ahmas, courageously flying the flag for women’s freedom, was first arrested on 11th April in Paris.  She refused to pay the £100 fine and abide by the court’s sentence that she spend 15 days learning citizenship.  ‘There is no possibility of me removing the veil,’ Ahmas said ‘I’m not taking it off. The judge needs citizenship lessons, not me.’

Ahmas was not even allowed into her own trial, due to the veil and now faces up to two years in prison and a £27,000 fine.

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She has launched a pressure group ‘Do Not Touch my Constitution’ along with Kenza Drider a fellow niqabi who is running for president in Spring.

Since France announced its ban in April, Belgium has swiftly followed suit.  Women wearing niqab there, do not face fines, rather automatic seven day prison sentences.  In Italy, the right wing Northern League have resurrected a 1975 law against face coverings resulting in the issuing of fines in the North. The Italian government is currently drafting anti-niqab legislation, as is Denmark and Austria.  The Netherlands and Switzerland are actively pushing for bans and it has been debated although sidelined in Britain.

Whilst the furor over the ban was intense earlier this year, dialogue has since died down.  Muslim bloggers and newspapers were active in their responses and much discussion ensued on forums by email.  A website was created in Britain to better educate the public about the niqab.  Yet the ummah seems to have fallen silent.  Are there no men or women prepared to stand up for the rights of Hind Ahmas?  Must our best hopes rest on the shoulders of Rachid Nekkaz, the French Algerian businessman financially supporting fined women, but who does not actually believe in the need to wear niqab.

Since the ban, Muslim women have been increasingly stigmatised and abused in French society.  An Open Society Foundation report which surveyed 32 French women following the ban, described many cases of verbal and sometimes physical abuse on the street as a direct result of wearing it.  It also definitively concluded that women had freely chosen to wear it, often in opposition to family and friends.

Kenza Drider described her experiences: “I still go out in my car, on foot, to the shops, to collect my kids. I’m insulted about three to four times a day,” she says. Most say, “Go home”; some say, “We’ll kill you.” One said: “We’ll do to you what we did to the Jews.” In the worst attack, before the law came in, a man tried to run her down in his car.

Not only is freedom to practice religion enshrined in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but any violation of those rights is a clear Islamic indication for action, whether that be political participation or making hijrah.

The speed at which bans are spreading across Europe, suggests that unless this tide of discrimination is nipped in the bud, through education and demonstrations, there is a real risk that matters could get out of control.  It is up to the wider Muslim community to unite and organize from now so that we have the ground covered for successive crises.

What started with niqab, may develop into hijab, before eroding the fundamental principles of Islam.  Hijab bans in schools and universities are already in place in Tunisia and Turkey. Quite frankly, it is embarrassing how we have limited Muslim women from making their own choices even in our own backyard.

Luckily Sarkozy’s anti-niqab legislation, failed to improve his popularity ratings.  What remains to be seen is whether his little trick will be one of the most successful means to unite what has hitherto been a somewhat divided ummah.

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  1. ibn Ahmed

    December 26, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    subhanAllah! This really makes me sad at the state of our ummah.
    It’s disturbing to see countries that claim to abide by the principle of freedom of religion banning niqab is such quick succession. I am also upset, though not surprised, that our sisters in Islam that wear niqab are facing abuse in these societies. We as Muslims, both brothers and sisters, need think deeply about what we can do in order to change this situation. My personal feeling is that the only way to change out situation is to give dawah to non-Muslims. That is what I feel RasulAllah salalahu alyhi wasalam would have done in this situation.
    Although I’m deeply saddened and upset about this, at the same time I feel optimistic that this will elicit a response from Muslims. I hope I’m not just being naive.

    Let me know what you guys think.
    JazakAllahu khairun

    • ansar

      December 27, 2011 at 9:23 AM

      salaam. i’m so sad to hear the responses. i’m hearing “give dawaa, make hijrah, niqab is not compulsory, when in rome do as the romans do, make duaa”. most if not all is nonsensical. why? firstly, muslims have been giving dawaa to non muslims in these countries for centuries. and the end result is-jail women. we have been making duaa for centuries also. but allaah has already given us a way. most fat and wealthy muslim men dont like the remedy because it may involve the cessation of their fat and jolly existence. make hijrah some say. to where? the ‘muslim’ lands? i dont think so. it’s jumping from the frying pan into the fire. imagine leaving france to go to syria. death. imagine going to egypt…death. go to iraq…death. go to saudi arabia…oppression of the same women. go where? i would just as well stay in my non muslim corner and struggle for my rights. and that is what the fat and contented male ummah is afraid of… you’re afraid to do it personally. send your sons. send some money. buy some food for war wary and weary muslims in palestine, in france, in the muslim lands where they are most oppressed. and we will make a difference. and we have to pull away ourselves from supporting these corrupt muslims. THEY give islaam a rotten name and then the kaafir will say ‘no problem to do them injustice as their leaders are decadent opium smokers and their men like little boys and they oppress their women. can saudi make a cry agaionst france? HELL NO!!!! they oppress their women equally. can we look to turkey-last stand of the khalifate? i dont think so. they have banned hijab and niqab. so we have to decry these bandit muslims who pretend to rule in the name of islam and are in fact a bunch of cut throat drunkards and gamblers and eaters of ribaa. ma a salaam

      • ibn Ahmed

        January 1, 2012 at 3:59 PM

        mmm, I was saying that we should teach non-Muslims about Islam… I don’t think that we as muslims have “giving dawaa to non muslims in these countries for centuries.” That is simply not true. We have just started giving dawah on a relatively large scale (here in America, anyway) just within the last few years. If you randomly asked someone here in the US “What is Islam? What does it teach?” They would not be able to tell you, because we Muslims have not told them what Islam is about. That is, at least in part, our fault.

        Also, I think giving dawah is a very practical way of countering anti-Muslim sentiments. We can criticize other Muslim countries and there rulers all we want, as you have done, but that isn’t changing anything. Really, it’s not. However, if we give dawah, we can teach people what Islam is, and if they become Muslim, alhumdulillah! If not, at least they know that Islam is not what is represented by Muslims, but what was taught by the Quran and the Sunnah of RasulAllah salalahu alyhi wasalam.
        I also think that dawah is one of the best way to struggle for our rights.

      • Carlos

        January 3, 2012 at 5:14 PM

        Dear Ansar,

        You write that the appropriate response is “ you’re afraid to do it personally. send your sons. send some money. buy some food for war wary and weary muslims in palestine, in france, in the muslim lands where they are most oppressed. and we will make a difference.”

        “Struggle.” “Sons.” “Money.” “War.” Ansar, please tell me this is not a call for violence. If it is, please tell me that too, and explain your justification. And if this is a call for violence in France, please explain why the jailing of a woman who refuses to pay a required fine justifies violence in response. You may not agree with the law or the punishment, but why would a non-violent state action justify violence in response? Against whom should the violence be targetted? The judge? The prosecutor? The police? The legislature? The president? Parisians in line to buy their morning baguettes?

        To everyone else, if you think Ansar is calling for violence, please explain why you have not written a response to Ansar’s call.

        Thank you,


  2. Yasmine

    December 26, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    And this is how they intend to “liberate” muslim women from supposedly evil muslim men. By putting them in jail. This is sickening.
    (just for your information, Hind Ahmas is divorced and she’s in charge of her daughter who is less than 10 years old)

  3. Infidelicious

    December 26, 2011 at 6:48 PM

    Devil needs an advocate it seems….. If you live in a country where its is (for security or whatever reason) illegal to cover your face in public, you either abide by said law or pay the price.

    This woman lives in France, a secular country, “freedom of religion” means freedom FROM religion. She has every right to leave the country, nobody’s stoping her. Lord forgive me, this whining from Muslims who think themselves above the law angers me.

    In Saudi Arabia, a woman is punished for NOT covering her face. Crazy ? yes, but is she free to leave the country ?

    In France, you are citizen first and believer second. If you can’t accept this, well, there are countries where it is vice versa.

    My Muslim friends, I am aware that my secalurism angers some of you, can you understand how stubborn religiousity can anger me ?

    • stranded

      December 26, 2011 at 7:38 PM

      Secularism aside, does your intellect not question the absurdity of a law? – are you capable of thinking FREE of religion being a secularist and all? Can you free yourself from religion from even a moment and reflect on the banning of a piece of cloth applied to a face and the major threat this supposedly causes to liberty?

      • ibn Ahmed

        January 1, 2012 at 4:01 PM

        anyone whose name is “Infidelicious” obviously is just here to troll us. Don’ t take him/ her too seriously…

        • Infidelicious

          January 9, 2012 at 6:58 PM

          Well, forgive me for being just that: a non-believer trying to come to terms with not going to paradise, if it means having to believe in dressing 7th century style in 21th century.

    • Hidayah

      December 26, 2011 at 8:49 PM

      As someone who lives overseas, I can tell you that it’s just not always that easy to leave where you live in favor of another country. Visa laws are difficult at best, impossible at worst. Although it would be nice to just say, “Oh well, if you don’t like it, leave”, that is not always an option and, furthermore, does nothing to promote justice and freedom. In the same way that you are free to choose to remove yourself from religion, we are free to choose to embrace our religion. I hardly see how a woman choosing to cover herself whether that includes a facecover or not, impedes your ability or anyone else’s ability to lead their lives. The bans against niqab are a blatant instance of discrimination and it’s a shame that the discrimination is coming from countries who trumpet their claims to freedom and liberty.

    • maryam

      December 26, 2011 at 9:02 PM

      In Saudi Arabia, a woman is punished for NOT covering her face. Thats not true.

      In Saudi Arabia a woman can never be punished for not covering her face….look up youtube videos of Saudi women answering with their faces exposed.

      is she free to leave the country ?

      Yes, why not? Why wouldn’t she be free to leave? Lots of Saudi women do leave and travel around the globe.

      • Traveller

        December 27, 2011 at 5:40 AM

        Salaams Maryam,

        I live in Riyadh, I am from UK and an expat here. Unfortunately a woman cant leave this country without an exit visa. This must be the only country in the world that wont allow anyone to leave without paying for an exit visa. This country has taught me that this place is good for nikaabis and not for those who want a simple Islamic life which UK provide. Its unfortunate my husband works here otherwise I rather be in England where practising my religion is simpler, yes I do wear my hijaab and decent full length clothes, but at least I dont live in an open prison, may Allah bring back the Ottomans to run this place!

    • Nazreen

      December 26, 2011 at 10:30 PM

      Citizen first and Believer second? Can’t it be both together? I am an Indian Muslim and a law abiding one at that. My identity does not differ in the public and private sphere. I really don’t understand how people fail to see the hypocrisy of the ‘freedom FROM religion’ argument. How can you expect abandon what they believe to be the core of their being when they are outside?

      I do not advertise the niqab but I do respect these women for practising and standing up for what they believe in. It is not like they are out in the streets terrorizing the other citizens into wearing it. When it comes to security issues, do you really think that these women who can’t even be statistically accounted for, pose a threat to the ‘peaceful society’ in France?

      It’s interesting how Saudi Arabia is dragged into any conversation which is even minutely connected to niqab . It is as though it’s the prime example of an Islamic State. It is ruled by a king, for heaven’s sake! And yeah, two wrongs do not make a right.

    • Hassan

      December 26, 2011 at 10:46 PM

      In Saudi Arabia, I have seen women without covering their face or hair.

      • maryam

        December 26, 2011 at 10:47 PM


    • Muslimlicious

      December 27, 2011 at 2:59 AM

      “Devil needs an advocate it seems….. price.”

      Would such reasoning ever persuade you to conform in this case: if you live in a country where it is (to protect the Church or whatever reason) illegal to study science in public, you either abide by said law or pay the price. Course you wouldn’t, because you value science, as it deserves to be. The Niqab is valued by many Muslim women – both who observe it, and those who don’t – because for many it represents their freedom to choose how to express their faith. Why should that be illegal?

      “This woman lives in France…angers me.”

      You mean oppression of religious freedom? Leaving a country isn’t as convenient as you ignorantly presume. Ever tried it before? I didn’t think so. If any other group of people were to stand up for their rights, it’d be praised as being “brave” and “honourable”, just not when Muslims do so – right? What should anger you are laws that put the rights of human beings below themselves.

      “In Saudi Arabia…leave the country?”

      What’s your point? That France should follow the example of Saudi Arabia? Or that Muslims should settle for ill-treatment just because other countries, in your eyes, enact such treatment? A country that is ruled by a corrupt Monarchy, receives aid from the CIA, practices interest-based banking, and punishes the poor while turning a blind eye to the rich if a crime is committed isn’t exactly Islamic.

      “In France…vice versa.”

      Why can’t you be both? These believers only become law-breaking citizens when these countries introduce laws stripping them of their rights. Otherwise, they harm no one, bother no one, and in fact contribute to society quite well.

      “My Muslim friends…can anger me?”

      Your secularism is your business. It doesn’t upset me so long as you don’t try shoving it down my throat. What upsets me is when discriminatory laws are shoved down religious peoples’ throats. Call it ‘stubborn religiousity’ all you want. I call it having the guts to stand up for your rights.


      • Infidelicious

        December 27, 2011 at 11:55 AM

        A loaded topic, for sure. Hard to keep a cool head.
        It seems I have misunderstood the purpose of the Muttawa/religious police in KSA. My bad.
        And yes, in itself it is wrong to make laws about other people’s belief. Just as it is wrong to use religion to put oneself above the law.
        Abide by the law or pay the price….. I was thinking along the line of Jehova’s Witnesses, who are fiercely pacifist and choose jail over military service…. and don’t cry discrimination.

        In central Copenhagen, it is illegal to wear ski masks (or other masks) at demonstrations or football games. This is strictly security/police business, not a law. If niqab was excepted, what would happen ? Anarchist youth would wear niqabs when throwing rocks at the police. A mask will have to mean every kind of mask, not that I think any pious Muslim woman would partake in a violent demonstration against, say EU.

        Muslimlicious,my ” secularism .doesn’t upset me so long as you don’t try shoving it down my throat. ” But how could I ? Secularism to me is minding my own religious business in public. In private, I’ll be happy to discuss Life, the Universe and Everything. A religious uniform, be it a niqab, a hijab, a long beard, dreadlocks, orange sari’s, in public is exactly that : forcing your beliefs on others.

        I am aware that in some cultures, people advertise their religion to strangers. In Europe, we were close to leaving that tradition behind… and then Muslims started coming.

        Well , loaded topic… Salaam

        • Jock

          December 27, 2011 at 4:22 PM

          A religious uniform is only ‘forcing your beliefs on others’ in the same way that wearing revealing clothing is ‘forcing’ others to look at your body or donning branded clothing is ‘forcing’ your retail choices on others. It’s a choice/ situation that neither requires you to acknowledge or give any extra attention to the wearer/user if you don’t want to. It’s not like they’re wearing a poisonous odour or radioactively charged suit that will extend its subversive influence to you against your will.

          You’re right about the inanity of the Muttawa police’s tactics and I don’t even approve this kind of nitpicking police force in Muslim countries (where I’m from), let alone in secular countries.

          Wa’ Salaam (good on you for greeting us respectfully)

        • ibn Ahmed

          January 1, 2012 at 4:13 PM

          how is a religious uniform “forcing your beliefs on others.”? That is an absurd claim. From that point of view, any religious dress is “forcing you belief on others.” SubhanAllah! From that point of view, sikhs shouldn’t be allowed to where there turbans, Mormons shouldn’t be allowed to dress the way they do. You even said having a long beard is forcing you belief on others. Some Muslim men keep short beards in order to follow there religion. Is that “forcing their beliefs on others”? Should we all be clean shaved according to you?

          Sorry, I just couldn’t get over how ludicrous this argument was…

    • Carlos

      January 1, 2012 at 6:17 PM


      Saying one is free to leave the country is not realistic. When you have established yourself, your family and your profession in a certain place, you can’t just pick-up and leave without giving-up more than it is worth. And it is not so easy to re-establish oneself in a new place. For starters, what if you are not a native speaker of the local language. You instantly face a huge disadvantage.

      Democracy demands that people have the ability to affect the laws of the place they live. Nobody has the right to tell them to go elsewhere for their voice to be heard. Minorities have to accept the fact that they might not have as much say in things as majorities, but politically active minorities can punch above their weight. Everyone is a minority in some way or another.

      Democracy can lead to tyranny of the majority, which is why democracy must be tempered with equality, individual freedom and rule of law. There has to be a private sphere, in which state control does not reach. In most personal matters that do not harm anyone else, for example, in matters of dress, the law should only prevent extremes. For example, the law can prevent sons from being forced to wear barbed wire because their crazy fathers think it builds character. For another example, the law can prevent people from walking around in the city naked, because sitting on public seats without clothing could spread disease.

      I am no fan of niqabs or hijabs. I think pressuring women to dress more restrictively than men is sexist. I also think niqabs and hijabs are currently more popular in Muslim communities, because it is a way of expressing religious pride. The Muslim “World” is undergoing a religious revival, largely, I think, as a reaction to the Western reaction to 9/11. The different form of dress is a way of saying “We are ‘us’ and you are ‘them.'” It is a way of dividing people, which, I think, is almost always bad. But it is not my business if my neighbor wants to wear a hijab or niqab. Personal freedom is more important than what makes me comfortable. Restrictions on the niqab should be limited to essential state security and identification matters. For example, obviously, someone cannot wear a niqab for a driver license photo, because such a photo would be practically useless to anyone trying to confirm one’s identity.


  4. Yusuf ibn Abdullah

    December 26, 2011 at 7:48 PM

    May Allah make it easy 4 her in this life & the next! Amin

    • ibn Ahmed

      January 1, 2012 at 4:13 PM


  5. Bonzo

    December 26, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    salam ‘alaikum

    This particular law is arrogant and wrong, but it is nevertheless the law in France and they haven’t hidden this fact from anyone. Any woman who feels the need to break the law will have to be prepared to pay the fine or whatever other consequences there are or move to a different country.

    In this case, the lady has a child she is supposed to be looking after, as another commentator has mentioned, so one would have to wonder at her lack of wisdom if she is prepared to face a prison sentence rather than pay a fine. I understand that the niqab being wajib is a valid position in Islamic law, and that it is generally the mainstream position of most classical scholars – however if you look into the details you will see that this ruling is derived from a different set of principles than the hijab ruling. The point of niqab is to prevent fitna, not to cover awrah since the face is not awrah, hence why most present day ulema are lenient on the question for Muslims living in the West, particularly in France where it is now illegal. Many will even caution against wearing it as covering the face is something very alien to Western people.

    The lady should realise that she is diving head first into a situation that is damaging for her and her daughter, which the shariah does not require her to do.


  6. amatullah

    December 26, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    Allahul Musta’an!
    Wallahu Khayrul Makireen (And Allah is the Best of Planners)!

  7. Umm Abdul-Haqq

    December 26, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    Where are our men? The same men who’ve written the masses of ‘Hijab/ Fatwas for Women’ type books that occupy Islamic book stores and are the focus of so many Islamic talks? It’s all very well for men to tell Muslim women to go out covered from head to toe, but when push comes to shove we end up having to suffer alone. Even the person helping this niqabi sister is a fellow woman. Imagine if she ends up going to prison – the horror and humiliation she would be forced to face. The Sahabas would’ve lain down their lives to protect the honour of their Muslim sisters, not watch whilst veils are essentially being torn from their faces.

    • ibn Ahmed

      January 1, 2012 at 4:14 PM


    • Carlos

      January 3, 2012 at 5:23 PM

      Dear Umm Abdul-Haqq,

      “Where are our men? . . . The Sahabas would’ve lain down their lives to protect the honour of their Muslim sisters . . . .”

      Is this an appeal to machismo? Is this a provocation by calling into question masculinity? Is this a call for violence to protect “honour?” If this is not a call for violence, please explain how I am misinterpreting your message. How would an injury to “honour” justify violence?

      To everyone else here, if you believe Umm Abdul-Haqq is calling for violence, please respond, in writing, to her call, or explain why you have not responded.

      Thank you,


      • Mariam

        September 11, 2012 at 8:45 PM

        No…there is nothing in her statement that suggests violence and definitely she is not alluding to violence of any sort. Violence is never the solution to any problem. She is simply trying to say why aren’t these men standing up against this law. Standing up against something should not include violence and Islam does not encourage such behavior.

  8. Umm Sulaim

    December 26, 2011 at 10:19 PM

    Great to know we have persons like this reading MM.

    I particularly like the part where women are penalised for not wearing a niqab, considering anyone who have access to the news, let alone the internet would have seen Saudi women with their faces uncovered.

    I have always said that those who are anti-niqab are the least able to see. And that is literal.

    Umm Sulaim

  9. Abeer

    December 27, 2011 at 1:55 AM

    I wear Niqaab, (and it’s a personal choice). So I’m definitely pro-Niqab and believe that women should not have this freedom taken away by a secularist law (ironically – a law that claims to give women freedom).

    But, personally, I don’t see the need to incite law makers to put me in a situation that would compromise – a lot.
    If I was in a position of being jailed and being taken away from a child, who is dependent on me – then I will, as a rational human being, assess the situation prior to taking action.

    As an Economist, to me, the opportunity cost of staying in a country that is ruled by secularist law, is a lot more than leaving it.

    And though I don’t, Alhamdulillah, live in the west, I still believe that I am a Muslim before whatever my nationality is. Islam is what makes me a human being. Country is what defines my accent and the food that I eat (amongst other things =] ). Anything that compromises my religion or my priorities…… I need to make sure that I’m not in a situation that it does.

    And obviously, a lot might not agree with what I said. But it’s true.

    Islam is already being hated on and by being stubborn about it, we might not necessarily change laws but we might end up making it worse for other Muslims.

    Also, every Muslim has the potential to impact and better the Ummah, we just need to find how we can serve this Ummah to our best abilities and then do it. And bringing about change – as is the common misconception – doesn’t necessarily have to be through rebellion.

    Lastly, before we act, we need to make sure that our actions are in accordance to Islam, regardless of where we live.

    I pray that Allah Subhaneh wa ta’ala makes a way out for this sister, for she is very brave to wear Niqab in a country that disparages it.

    • Carlos

      January 3, 2012 at 5:27 PM

      Dear A. Stranger,

      You write, “Islam is what makes me a human being.”

      Are non-Muslims not human beings? If you believe that, please explain your reasoning. Thank you.


  10. Faith

    December 27, 2011 at 4:53 AM

    Wa alaikum assalam Bonzo,

    Jzk for your well considered comments. Certainly there are risks entailed in what Hind Ahmas is doing and I see your point of view.
    I am sure she thought long and hard before doing so.

    Have you considered though that many of the hundreds of women who have been fined since April will also be mothers- as is the nature of creating a law that selectively targets women (usually young women).

    Consider also that Belgium has moved to prison sentences instead of fines.

    In the spirit of giving our fellow sister seventy excuses, perhaps her goal here was to spare the suffering of hundreds of women in the future who if this law was left unchecked could eventually have to make the choice between being forced to reveal themselves, prison or leaving their family and home behind to flee a country that they have grown up in. Certainly that’s a choice that Belgians must now face.

    One act of courage now, could save hundreds of other families in future as it did for Rosa Parks.

    It seems to me that Muslim women have had their fair share of fingers pointed at them by the press and wider society in recent years. They have also not had the opportunity by the press to answer for themselves.

    Perhaps now is the time for us to stand up and support them in their time of need.

    What this woman is doing is braver than the rest of us put together- this campaign is giving niqabi’s the opportunity to speak to the world on their own terms, give Dawah, educate and inform (as hind does in a french interview on you tube) If this is what it takes then that may be what needs to be done.

    I think the question is what alternatives are there to what Hind is doing?

    Whilst some might suggest these women should lay low and pay the fines is this really a long term plan? Should the French government be allowed to profit financially from oppressing these women and what happens if you are caught wearing Niqab again? Will women have to keep paying over and over ?

    This really is discrimination from top to bottom and must be wholeheartedly opposed.  Critics of hind ahmas’s position must come forward with alternative suggestions if they want the Ummah to respond.

    • Umm Ousama

      December 28, 2011 at 9:26 AM

      I am not sure whether there is more good or more harm in what she is doing. This is for her to judege and only Allah knows. However, the problems in France and in Belgium for the Muslims are more than just niqab. French sisters are not allowed to wear a scarf on their ID card or their passport. Shouldn’t that law be challenged first? If Belgium was to introduce that no scarf is allowed on the passport, I would immediately challenge the rule in the courts and in the European court if needed.

      As for being forced out of the country because she can’t practice her religion, it is then the Sunnah to leave. I can’t go back to Belgium because, although I like the country and my kids love it too, I wouldn’t be able to practice properly there. It is very hard to homeschool, yet you can’t send your girls with a scarf to school. Physical education is now mixed and this includes swimming lessons and you can’t be excused from those. Where does this leave a Muslim family? Oh, they will say they don’t have a problem with Muslims as they did a “halal beer” which is “great” as it helps you to socialise with your peers and integrate in the society. Really?

      So, yes, I can’t go back to live in Belgium, my country of birth and the country of my parents, grandparents, and so on… Why? Because I became Muslim. And I might be always a stranger in a foreign land living forever on visas because no Muslim country would probably give me their passport but I would rather live like that instead of living in a country where it is hard to practice my religion.

    • Bonzo

      December 29, 2011 at 2:13 PM

      Jazakum Allah Faith.

      Maybe it’s just my vanity, but I guess I have a problem with all this ‘fight for your rights’ angry victim mentality, which seems to make up the overwheling bulk of our side of the Muslim-West discourse, while from their side, all we get is a monotonous onslaught of Muslim bashing. Someone needs to shut up or change the subject at some point if we’re going to get anywhere.

      Besides, right fighting seems a little alien to the Islamic tradition and is not easy to do in a dignified manner. I’m sure it does have a valid place somewhere in the journey we are making as Muslims living in the West, but it would be more impressive if we showed ourselves to be people of fortitude and dignity who are able to put up with highly disliked and uncomfortable things, rather than whingers, moaners and constantly angry people. This is where the broad scope of fiqh and Islamic Shariah comes in to play and should define our behaviour and interaction with our hosts so that they see us as people of substance, stoical, resilient and able to preserve our religion, dignity and honour in any situation, and with a calm, measured dignity.

      The shariah defines valid reasons for being in the West and one of them is dawa. I myself am a convert, and have a good idea what looks attractive about Islam from the outside. Believe me, it’s not the young, jumped up, outraged Muslim screaming for his or her rights to do this that or the other, it’s people like the immensely dignified father who buried his son, killed protecting his neighbour’s shop from theives and looters.


  11. Yasmin

    December 27, 2011 at 5:45 AM

    wow is that even allowed??

  12. Abdoulazize s Daouda

    December 27, 2011 at 9:19 AM

    Allah will keep us strong if we support our sisters but If we failed to do so we loose our religion

  13. Truth

    December 27, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    It really is amazing to see the bravery of this woman, fighting for freedom. Barak Allah u feek. May Allah give you, your loved ones, me, my loved ones and all the ummah patience and hidayah to sirat-ul-mustaqeem, ameen ya rab.

  14. TSPMuslim

    December 27, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    Women have been fighting for rights forever especially in regards to dress, now we are taking that right away and they need to start over again? Here is my video response on the topic of our sisters.

    TSP: Women’s Suffrage, Ban The Burka, Ban Muslims, Ban Islam, Ban Ban Ban…

  15. Sabreena

    December 27, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    I think what we all need to understand is that this is not an attack on just Niqaabi women, rather the whole Muslim community in France. What this law has (successfully) achieved is to cause anger amongst the French Muslim community but in turn this should enable the rest of the ummah to respond. Why are we not responding?

    Why is it that there are many lectures and books dedicated to the Niqab and the wisdom behind it, but no activists defending our sisters’ rights to wear it? I really don’t think it’s enough for an Algerian/French businessman to want to pay the fees on the sisters behalf. This does not solve or provide any support to those women who will ultimately have to either sacrifice something they willingly chose to wear in preference for a law and governmental structure that does not have their concerns in mind.

    Even though it has now sadly become law, and is now catching on throughout Europe, it shouldn’t be a case that we only discuss it when it reaches the news. We should always be discussing it. I sit in London, England writing this which can be considered quite liberal on this specific issue but who knows? Circumstances can change, and how can we rely on man made laws. Lets not wait for the issue to reach our own doorsteps to take action – we should raise awareness and petition. This is our basic human rights at stake.

  16. A. Seymour K

    December 27, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    If your claim is ‘any religious uniform is forcing your beliefs on others,’ then this would require the outlawing of nun’s habits, jewish yarmulkes, the wearing of christian crosses around one’s neck, the peot/beard/black hats of orthodox jews, the beards and hats of Muslims, and probably dozens of other things, in order to be consistent…

    the utilization of your nonsense concerning that can be easily refuted by the fact that niqabis do not go to football games or violent political demonstrations… and it certainly does not justify throwing people in jail over a clothing choice due to a possible happening in the future, rather, the truth is closer to the below statement-

    The French simply hate Muslims and Islam and do not understand or recognize history or the consequences of historical forces…

    after all, I ask, were Algerians buried in French memorial graveyards after fighting in World War I?

    Did they do that so that their grand-daughters could be thrown in jail for not conforming to the French societal standard of walking around mostly naked?

    And of course, the relentless, evil colonization of most of Muslim North Africa… part of the root cause of two things;
    1) The prosperity of France and Europe in general (which was dependent on colonization and exploitation of resources, which went hand in hand with outright murder and coercion of the host population)
    2) the current wave of Muslim immigrants and asylum-seekers.

    As J.G. Ballard lamented, people now-a-days do not understand ‘affect,’ rather- it has died out from their minds. That is, they do not understand that actions have consequences and these consequences are often undesirable, but nonetheless they occur, and so they persist in their ignorance like stupid children who think that spitting into the wind will not cause it to come back, or like 19th-century American slave owners who thought that their slaves loved them until Nat Turner’s rebellion…

    • Infidelicious

      December 28, 2011 at 12:11 PM

      “If your claim is ‘any religious uniform is forcing your beliefs on others,’ then this would require the outlawing of nun’s habits, jewish” ….etc …….
      That must be me… nowhere did I say there should be a law agaisnt it. I say, one should follow local custom.

      And Jock, forcing good or bad taste in clothing is not like wearing a “belief” in public…
      It would be wrong of me to draw the “terrorism” card. But try to see it through blue eyes for a second. Ultra-conservative Muslims with a hardline-interpretation of what God wants them to do has -over time- caused death . destruction, and fear. (Muslims, not Islam) A woman posing ultra-conservative interpretation of Islam, is being connected to militant Islam in the eyes of the unbelieving beholder. And some might take offence.

      Now as a white, protestant male it would be unwisefor me to wear a Ku Klux Klan outfit in public, even if I have a “right” to do so. I may believe in white supremacy ( I don¨t) but showing it in the street would cause unnecesary hurt. Beliefs / Religion can animosity, best be discreet about it.

      Actually I’m lucky: my God doesn’t require me to wear or do anything specific. Doesn’t even care if I believe or not. Doesn’t punish me ( I handle that all too well myself :-)

      Well, I could crawl back where I came from and leave the lot of you to agree about discrimination from evil kuffars, and I will, when the time is right. But even the devil needs an advocate.

      May I wish you a happy new year.

      • A. Seymour K

        December 28, 2011 at 2:22 PM

        No, you may not.

        I was not surprised to see that you did not, in actuality, respond to anything I wrote…

        The arbiters of your secular-state dogma’s central doctrine can be summed up in a sentence as regards these matters, but you will, of course, not take heed; to wit-

        “Your rights end where my nose begins.”

        If you do indeed support the niqab ban and the imprisonment of women who defy it, then it requires that you follow up with the rest of that to be consistent… but since that is not the case, you resort to then arguing security. I am forcibly reminded, in your argument, of the hydra, which has many heads and few brains…

        and your absurd interpolations about what people might conclude upon seeing the clothing of others that has nothing to do with them in any way whatsoever have, similarly, nothing to do with the secular-state doctrine you have previously alluded to, but a good deal to do with hate of Muslims and Islam…

        But of course, you refuse to respond in a substantiative way to anything I have raised, so be as you will.

        • Infidelicious

          December 31, 2011 at 9:02 PM

          Alright, then have an unhappy one….

          True, I didn’t respond to you, too much annger to deal with…..
          But you did make me aware of one thing: I AM being inconsistent. I confuse my values with my emotions. Your anger pushes me off balance.

          In the ideal world, everybody could believe whatever they want to and wear whatever they want to: I’m certain you agree with that even to the point of a gay parade down Tahrir Square.

          But I confess, the sight of a masked person, be it a ski-masked anarchist or a niqabi makes me unconfortable. I’m simply not comfortable around people whose face I can’t see.

          more on Faith’s post

      • Bint Mohamedali

        December 29, 2011 at 12:08 PM

        I may believe in white supremacy ( I don¨t) but showing it in the street would cause unnecesary hurt. Beliefs / Religion can animosity, best be discreet about it.

        I dont understand how can you compare being white supremacist ,which is solely based on hatred of your fellow beings just because of the way they look to a Muslim. A Muslim who is believes that in god’s eyes..white , black…whatever.. he only looks at your actions and good deeds. And when we believe in that faith and in the pursuit to follow that, we wear different attire, which is not even vulgur.
        See I dont want to comment on the above article..because I wear hijab and modest clothes..but not niqab..and am not sure even if someone has to go this far for that…but that being said…what i dont understand is that , How can people doesnt seem to have any problem with women walking around naked be it for her whatever convictions(in a twisted way they say that liberates them ) whereas if a women chooses to cover herself for her beliefs …there’s a huge cry…
        Sir, you say its better to blend into the culture and be discreet about your beliefs esp. if it asks you to dress differently…but when I look around i see people dressed in the most weirdest way for whatever hair.. half shaven head.. tattooed arm , pierced tongue!!! and the attire which is wrong in so many ways…but they wear it…because thats what they feel like wearing..
        and we accept that…so why someone who chooses to wear any dress which is not offensive(no hateful quotes or breed hate) should be so offensive?

        Happy new year to you too…

        • Infidelicious

          December 31, 2011 at 8:49 PM

          You make a good point: If I were a white supremacist, maybe I would not “hate” other people, just pity them for not being like me. (pure speculation here). But it might very well look like that to you… a veiled/niqab’d Muslim woman might not believe in male superiority, in world-wide jihad, in Taleban/KSA -style segregation of man and woman… it just might look like that to an ignorant infidel lke me.
          So what I ask of you fiercely-steadfast believers: until we fully understand each other, best try not to offend each other. Yes, we – as natives- should be more welcoming. In return, you – as newcomers – could adapt to our “religious shyness” and be kless confrontational.

          A niqab in Europe causes more fear, suspicion and separatism than it does understanding. Is it really how you want to spread Islam ?

      • Faith

        December 30, 2011 at 7:54 AM

        Infidelicious, I’m glad you are engaging with this discussion. It shows an interest in other people’s viewpoints which is something I respect.

        As westerners many of us are incredibly aware of some of the associations you just described. These ideas are constantly pushed and repeated in the media- if you repeat an idea enough times over it’ll become true won’t it?

         But surely any thinking, critical person soon realises it’s largely nonsense fed to western people to justify foreign land acquisition. It’s the oldest trick in the book- the native Americans were villified then colonised, so were the Jews and then deported. An excuse is created to justify abuse.

        Except that it doesn’t become ok.  Even if you think your god is cool with it. You KNOW it’s not ok. Deep down, you know it.

        And neither is it ok to forcibly declothe women, fine them for saying no and throw them in prison for refusing to be fined. Then tell them to accept the law the way it is or leave the country. It’s abuse and cannot be justified by a perceived threat.

        I know you know this but I’m suggesting you think anew. And think for yourself.

        How many Niqab wearing Muslims have posed a direct threat to you? Do you honestly know enough about Islam to conclude that wearing Niqab represents a threat?

        How many Niqab wearing women have you ever spoken to or heard interviewed in the media? Isn’t it possible that they might actually just want to deepen their connection to god and that their decision has nothing to do with politics?

        Open your mind just a bit more. And maybe you’ll start to see how many Niqab wearing women are blue eyed themselves.

        • Infidelicious

          December 31, 2011 at 9:16 PM

          “villified then colonised, so were the Jews and then deported. An excuse is created to justify abuse.”

          If that’s really how European Muslims feel there’s some thing very wrong. It sounds just as twisted as some older, conservative Danes, I’ve heard say” Them Mooslems are gonna outnumber us natives in xx years, them breeding like rats and then they’ll enslave the lot of us, if we don’t do anything” mostly I laugh at such paranoia. But if European Muslims are just as fearful, it looks like we all have a lot of learning to do.

          “Force them to declothe” I don’t know, if you choose to be French, you should act French-style. If I choose to live in an Arab country, there are customs I would have to abide by, regardless of what I believe in.

          “How many Niqab wearing women have you ever spoken to” Touché ! I guess, just as many white, Protestant males who have sexually harassed you for not veiling. I’ve spoken to quite a few hijabis, who have credited with me with being “very respectful, for a Danish man”. Still, much as I strive to respect their beliefs, I do not always finds my “disbelief” respected.. Makes sense ?

  17. omar

    December 28, 2011 at 8:29 AM

    she deserves it

  18. Sister

    December 28, 2011 at 8:01 PM

    Besides making duaa for the sister and the laws to change, what can we here in America do to help?

    • Sister

      December 28, 2011 at 8:04 PM

      Besides making duaa for the sister and for*** the laws to change, what can we here in America do to help?

  19. travismcgee

    December 29, 2011 at 11:13 PM

    I have read the Quaran, the hadiths and the surahs. Precisely where does it say that a woman must dress this way? This seems to me, a Buddhist, to be a law” of man and not of God.

    • Infidelicious

      December 31, 2011 at 9:27 PM

      Is there ever ANY law that does not come from man ?

  20. Pingback: Jail sentence for French Niqabi – HUSNY THALIB

  21. Umm Sulaim

    December 31, 2011 at 10:54 PM

    So much for the ‘strive to respect their beliefs’.

    Umm Sulaim

  22. hafizah

    January 5, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    just move……….that’s the sunnah…!

  23. Taniya88

    May 13, 2012 at 8:34 AM


    I feel really bad for that lady,May Allah reward her.
    THis is serious matter ,sister and brothers. if we let it go then next is hijab????

    please wake uppppppppppppp

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