November 21, 2010

☫ Muslim in France (Part 3)

Interviews  Muslims in the Mecca of secularism | Part 3
In the right place at the wrong time?

Intro Part1 Part2 Part3 Part4Part5

The Perception of Prejudices

Beyond the pretenses of political argumentations in the EU parliaments, Leila reminds us that there is a tangible reality for French Muslims to face each day,

Discrimination is always present everywhere. It is a part of my life.

Every day I hear some colleagues, friends, or any other people I talk to asking me if I was forced to wear hijab, as well as others' allusions to my supposed life as a 'subdued woman'. For me, this is a sort of implicit discrimination, involving the prejudices which media teaches to people and which become normally accepted.

When coming to explicit discriminations, isn’t the ban of hijab at school and work the biggest discrimination we can imagine?

Besides from what Leila calls implicit and explicit discrimination, Imaneh adds a more poignant daily experience that Muslim women are subjected to thanks to an overprotected defamation campaign against Islam and Muslims,

Of course there are discriminations, I was offended many times in the street. Just yesterday as a matter of fact.

It makes me laugh. But I have also got a lot of compliments which is heart-warming. Not because of the compliments themselves, but to know that my scarf does not disturb all people.

Constraints From Discrimination

Due to their different experiences and necessities, Leila and Imaneh share somehow contrasting views on how discrimination modifies their lifestyles. Because of her need to work in order to pay for her studies, Imaneh faces the reality of France's secularism in a harsher way,

What is really hard is to find a job as I said. We have to remove it (hijab), and it is a real constraint. So yes, I avoid to search a job with my hijab, even if removing it disturbs me a lot. I cry because of it.

Leila has been lucky to so far by-pass such situation,

Personally, I never avoid going to certain places. On the opposite: I always try to go and meet people. Fleeing solves nothing! I think it is really important to be in communication with others, and most times talking brings results!

But her approach still has validity for all Muslims in Europe who are - whether they fancy the idea or not - diplomats representing an ideology geared towards the improvement of human relations (Quran 49:13),

O mankind! We created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other and treat each other kindly. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).

In Media and Authorities We Trust?

No, I don’t feel respected by the authority and media, with all their emissions and reports. I don't even pay attention to it anymore. It hurts me and makes me cry.

Imaneh's frustrations and despair at the unfounded targeting of her community (Europol: EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2009) run deep in the feelings of European Muslims. The consequence of putting no stop to such harassment is a self-fulfilled prophecy from secularists blaming religion over the division of peoples,

That is why today I don't make efforts anymore. I live my faith without being worried. And if it disturbs France, I am sorry but I don't care; in the same way France does not care about me.

EUROPOL 2009 EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (click to enlarge)

Leila takes it humorously,

I cannot refrain from smiling. The media and the authorities are the first causes of all these debates. Of course I don’t feel supported by them. Islam is a tool for journalists to have a beautiful main headline. Just marry some good words like 'Islam', 'terrorists', and 'scarf', and you will see your sales or your audience increasing. It is magical!

Or perhaps not that magical and not even coincidental (LoonWatch: Organized Islamophobia - The Facts).

Intro Part1 Part2 Part3 Part4Part5


Maede said...

"in the same way France does not care about me." that says it all...

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