SHAFAQNA- A statement by a French minister equating Muslim women’s fashion to slavery indicates the promotional hatred against Muslim people, and shows the same level of racism nowadays with just different principles, said Massoud Shadjareh.
France’s Women’s Rights Minister Laurence Rossignol contrasted Muslim women wearing the hijab to American‘negroes’ who backed slavery. The comment prompted a petition calling for Rossignol to be severely reprimanded. The French politician apologized for using the offensive ’N word’, however, refused to retract ‘a single word.’
RT: What do you make of her remarks? Is she saying it’s up to Muslim women to choose, or is she saying they’re being misguided and repressed?
Massoud Shadjareh: First of all, it’s astonishing that in today’s world anyone could actually think they could use the‘N word’ and get away with it. That shows the ignorance and racist sort of background that she obviously comes from. We can’t even repeat it on air, so it shows her ignorance and tendency towards racism.
Also it is wrong at so many different levels. She is sort of saying that Muslim women are choosing to be a slave in that sort of fashion – nobody chooses to be a slave. Slavery, which resulted in the death of over a hundred million people from Africa, is actually one of the holocaust dark marks of our history. It is not something that people choose.
RT: It’s long been a tough discussion in France, which banned wearing full-face veils in public nearly six years ago. Why is women’s’ Islamic clothing such a fiery topic?
MS: I think it’s very easy to identify Muslims by the fact that they are dressed that way, and therefore it becomes a sort of icon for the racist to pick on. In the same way that the color of a person is used for promoting racism, now we see that the scarf of the Muslim woman is being used to create ‘otherness’, and abuse them.
It is the same level of racism, it is just changing principles. Islamophobia, or promotional hatred against Muslim, is a new form of racism. And the minister has proven that they are connected to one another, and she seems to be totally ignorant on both sides. And she doesn’t mind being racist.
RT: France also has Europe’s biggest Muslim population. Do you think the Minister’s going to be reprimanded? She’s supposed to represent all of France’s women, isn’t she?
MS: The word both in French and English are exactly the same; you don’t need to be able to speak French to understand the word. So it is has nothing to do with the translation of it. She is a bigot – she has shown that she is. She hasn’t got the right to hold an important job, which is supposed to stop bigotry and discrimination.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.