November 2, 2005

"They might say things or look at me in a certain way, and that would undermine my confidence."

Said by a young Muslim woman in France, where acceptance of the ban on headscarves in schools is reportedly widespread.
The clearest sign that the 2004 law is now accepted is that no Muslim group is fighting for its repeal - not even the Organisation of Islamic Organisations of France (UOIF), which is closest to grass-roots opinion in the country's poorer suburbs.

"The law is unfair to Muslims, but we've put it behind us," said Rachid Hamoudi, the UOIF director of a big mosque in Lille, northern France....

But the wide acceptance of the ban does not mean the scarf issue has been settled once and for all....

To get an idea of the lingering tensions, it is worth looking at what happens to these young Muslims beyond secondary school.

At university level, the law on religious signs does not apply.

Nevertheless Teycir ben Naser, a second-year student at Creteil University near Paris, has opted for a discreet bandana.

The 19-year-old feels the headscarf she wears off campus could become a liability during oral exams.

Not that it would influence examiners, she says, but "they might say things or look at me in a certain way, and that would undermine my confidence".

The main challenge, however, will come after university.

"We are studying to be able to work later," Ms ben Naser says. "And we all we know that if you wear a veil all the doors will close."
Meanwhile, there are riots in Paris:
The street fighting less than an hour's subway ride from the heart of Paris has underscored France's failed efforts to stem the growing unrest within a largely Muslim immigrant population that feels disenfranchised and is beset by high unemployment and crime. An estimated 6 million Muslims live in France, many of them in dismal high-rise enclaves like this one.derrahmane, 54, who heads the local Muslim Cultural Association, said Tuesday morning, visibly exhausted after an all-night effort to quell the continuing violence in this town.

Many residents were outraged Sunday night when a police tear gas canister was thrown into a local mosque during prayers for Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. An estimated 700 coughing and panicked worshipers ran for the doors.

12 comments:

Meade said...

Won't Hitler be pleased when he hears the news.

Al Maviva said...

Don't forget to riot, indeed.

Simon said...

What a bizarre statement: "France's failed efforts to stem the growing unrest within a largely Muslim immigrant population that feels disenfranchised and is beset by high unemployment and crime."

Certainly, one can understand feeling "beset" with high unemployment within the immigrant population. But "beset" by crime within the community? Isn't that really something that has a predominantly internal solution for the community? If you don't like crime, stop committing crimes and haboring criminals!

ATMX said...

Maybe Prince Charles should go to France instead and lecture them.

leeontheroad said...

I do think that the average community resident has to see his or her responsibility for crime in neighborhoods. Still, having grown up in a crime-ridden urban area, I also know what it is like to feel beset by crime. My own neighborhood got better when a police officer *moved in* down the street. After that, vandalism became rare and muggings were limited to the nearby public park. In other words, there is a definite role for law enforcement authorities-- working in concert with residents.

I haven't been to the worst part of Paris-- the places an hour's metro ride from the "heart of Paris," as the article says. But I inadvertently walked through the nastiest parts of Belleville on my way to Père-Lachaise; and I didn't see a single law enforcement officer. In contrast, they are everywhere in l'ile de la Cité and the 4th, where most tourists are, and the 7th, where the embassies, Bon Marche and many wealthy citizens live. That reminded me of a few American cities, as well.

SteveR said...

There is some temptation to look at the irony is all this but clearly this is a problem for a large part of Europe that is going to get much worse in the very near future. (One year ago was the Theo van Gogh incident)

PatCA said...

Actually, I think the riots in France are in their fifth day, and there are riots in Denmark as well--planned in advance so is that still a riot?--according to this blog.

Notice the slant of the BBC article, accepting as true that it's the veil that prevents the PhD from getting a job; that it's somehow the responsibility of examiners not to notice a student as different although she wears garb designed specifically to highlight her difference; that living in a separate culture may hurt one's chances for success in the dominant culture.

They just can't accept that most Muslims do want to assimilate into our horrid Western culture.

miklos rosza said...

My wife is from Avignon; most of her family live in Marseille. So we've been talking about the riots a good deal.

It's too bad Michel Foucault is dead.

Ann Althouse said...

Miklos: Anything to report?

whit said...

"Violence in French Suburbs is a daily fact of Life" according to French Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkozy as reported in the International Herald Tribune which also reported "Since the start of the year, 9,000 police cars have been stoned and, each night, 20 to 40 cars are torched, Sarkozy said in an interview last week with the newspaper Le Monde. "

The papers have only been reporting on the disturbances for the last six nights. Hmm.

Dean Esmay said...

If they were refusing people jobs or giving them a hard time in grad school for wearing traditional Orthodox Jewish apparel, would people be objecting? I think so....

panther33 said...

I strongly suspect that wearing "Orthodox Jewish attire would tend to reduce one's chances at landing that plum job in the U.S. or France.