In the right place at the wrong time?
As ending for this interview series, a hypothetical question has been laid out, always in the context of the French ban on education and free movement for women wearing burqa, to illustrate the critical importance of modesty - via hijab - for the Muslim woman.
If France was therefore to impose the same prohibitions on hijab that it has imposed on burqa, would the thousands of women affected be able to adapt, or would they see themselves forced to severely downgrade living standards or even make them leave their own country?
Imaneh briefly contests,
This day will never happen. It is hard to imagine. If it happens however, of course I would leave France. I would have made all that I was able to do, but not to remove my hijab, not this!
whereas Leila gets in depth with the reasons of that 'never happening,'
The main excuse to forbid burqa in France was that it hid the face and it didn't correspond to the value of a free woman. They also used the fact that there was already a law in place stating that nobody can cover his face in any public places for safety reasons.
The question of hijab would be totally different, because contrary to burqa it doesn't concern some hundreds of women only, but thousands of women in France.
With the accumulation of frantic debates on Islam, the law against religious signs at schools, the law banning the burqaa in the street, and all the messages of Islamophobia we hear every day in the media, it would be the final straw that broke the camel's back. The limit of the bearable, not only for Muslims, but I think also for the other countries who kept silent until now.
Then in the imaginary scenario,
Am I supposed to leave my country or to change my religion? I'm French. And I'm Muslim. Where should I go then? I think many women would go for some alternatives, like wearing a hat. But if we talk about me, a hat would be a humiliation, so I think I would prefer to wear a real hijab until they arrest me.
At least I would have worn my hijab up to the end. And if they asked me to remove it, I think I would seriously think to move to another country. But I hope it will never happen. I believe in France, and I believe that France needs me.
This interview series came about as a reaction to the latest French law targeting the freedom to movement of Muslim women who decided to wear burqa. Instead of a simple attack on the law, it has been a humble attempt at shedding light on the nature and concept of modesty of clothing for Muslim women, as well as their perceptions of the issue revolving around their own lives.
Special thanks to Imaneh and Laila for agreeing to share their views and realities, for the sake of anyone out there concerned in seeing humanity beyond the superficial differences between fellow peoples.