Version Française

WHY DON’T THE EDITORIAL OFFICES OF FRENCH TELEVISION STATIONSINVITE VEILED WOMEN WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF DEBATES LINKED TO THE ISLAMIC VEIL?

In June 2019, the French radio station Sud Radio invites the French humorist Haroun to debate the place of veiled women in French society. Indeed, the veil is a religious sign that evokes, according to some, a separatism that could not fit in with the French way of life. Our French colleagues from the newspaper Libération mentioned this event.

However, the journalist Haroun is worried and asks why veiled women are not invited to evoke themselves what they experience? Why do others, who are very often non-Muslims, arrogate to themselves the elementary duty of listening to those concerned ? The question arise today.

A MINORITY AMONG MINORITIES:

Let’s start with an observation: French minorities are only very little represented in the French media. By minority, we mean all visible minorities, particularly those linked to origins and represented by a skin color different from white: people of color (POC). Among these individuals, there are many whose origins are linked to the time of the French colonies: Maghreb, Sub-Saharan Africa, the West Indies, Indochina etc. Studies have shown that visible minorities have more difficulty being represented in the culture (cinema, television, etc.) and editorial staff of French television stations.

However, in this conception of minorities, it is noticeable that veiled women represent a minority among these minorities. In fact, there are only 5 to 6 million North Africans in France and we deduce that there are about 3 million Muslim women. However, among these women, it is very difficult to count Muslim women, and among these Muslim women, those who wear the veil. In these conditions, it can be estimated that it is a very low profile minority: it can be estimated that there are a maximum of 1 million veiled women in France.

This estimate also shows that the focus here is only on Muslim women. Indeed, debates on the headscarf are linked – almost automatically – to the Islamic veil.

THE IMAGE OF A VICTIM WHO DOESN’T NEED TO INTERVENE:

But in this case, why not invite or listen to the testimony of one of these women? The fact that they represent very few people in no way prevents journalists from making the effort to reach them: these are skills they have.

One can consider that this does not seem, in the context of the French debates, to be useful because one would be speaking “among French people” on a subject which does not really concern veiled women. Indeed, the debates are not related to the legitimate presence of the veil but to its relevance in the French territory. In fact, the question asked is the following: “do we French accept that women wear the Islamic veil within our territory”.

It is for this reason that veiled women are only invited very rarely: they cannot answer a question which puts them directly as a victim, or at fault as the case may be.

A RACIST, DEGRADING AND SEXIST VIEW OF THE FRENCH WOMEN:

It is therefore above all because the veiled woman is not considered to be truly French, that she remains a foreigner who does not follow French traditions, that she is not invited to speak.

We therefore notice here a rather racist and retrograde vision of women who are only a community object at the service of a religion. Wouldn’t women be able to think for themselves? To have her own choices and her own will? Couldn’t French women be free and diverse?

IT IS HIGH TIME THAT THIS STOPPED.