“The colonialist administration invested great sums in this combat. After it had posited that the woman constituted the pivot of Algerian society, all efforts were made to obtain control over her.”
“This woman who sees without being seen frustrates the coloniser”
~ Frantz Fanon
The Cannes ban on the Hijab/full body suits, where politically expedient, theologised, metaphysical ideas tangibly trump a Muslim woman’s ability to attend the beach, presents yet another example of the much vaunted “tolerance” born from “secular indifference to religion”, usually postulated as an argument against Islam.
The ban is blatantly premised on reductionist, culturalist logic (“ostentatious displays of religious affiliation” referring to “an allegiance to terrorist movements” is a colonialist trope used to justify repression against a people). It is clearly discriminatory against the Muslim minority, conflicting with the ideas it seeks to protect; one can really insufflate the freedom, liberty and neutrality of religion in the French official’s words.
It certainly seems that the French colonialist predilection for controlling Muslims as a collective through Muslim women never satiates. I have written on the French context and the colonialist, historic and contemporary crusades against the veil (which is not conceptually disconnected to the Hijab), in a previous multipart series.
Part one is available here: European Court’s Ruling on the Veil (1): A Colonialist Crusade
The hypocrisy of the ban is so brilliantly deconstructed by French Muslim activist, Yasser Louati, it requires little additional commentary. Be sure to listen to the YouTube clip at the start of this blog.