“Let’s play” .. Muslim women demand the lifting of the ban on wearing the headscarf while playing football in France
The French Football Federation still bans the wearing of the headscarf in its competitions, while the International Football Association (FIFA) has allowed it since 2014.
After they were prevented from participating in competitions by many French sports federations, veiled players and their non-veiled sympathizers gathered in front of the French Senate building; To protest an amendment voted by the chamber, it is forbidden to “wear prominent religious symbols” during sports events and competitions organized by sports federations.
The participants – all players of clubs in the Paris region – chanted collectively: “Let’s play.”
Iman expressed her anger at this decision, saying, “Depriving women of their basic right to exercise and the pleasure of playing is a very dangerous matter,” but that it is “a matter of dignity,” adding, “We are not asking for the moon, we are only asking to play.”
These women gathered in the framework of what they called the “Alliance Citoyenne”, which sponsors a campaign in favor of veiled women so that all women, especially Muslims, can practice their sports and participate in competitions, according to a report by the newspaper “Le Parisien” (The Parisian) French.
The French Football Federation still bans the wearing of the headscarf in its tournaments, while the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) has allowed it since 2014.
Environmental Senator Guillaume Guuntard, who opposes the vote, considered such a plan an attack “directly on the foundations of the republic, especially secularism that calls for freedom.”
For its part, a group of Republican senators justified its amendment of the law by saying that it aims “to preserve the world of sports from any sectarian or societal tendencies, so that sport remains a place of cohesion, freedom and liberation,” as she put it.
The current campaign to ban the headscarf on any girl under the age of 18 as part of the “separatist bill” is the latest manifestation of France’s tense relationship with Islamic dress, and campaigns that have gained continuous momentum since the events of September 11, 2001.
In an earlier report published by The Independent,IndependentBritish writer Pragya Agarwal says that attempts to ban the niqab and veil completely contradict what the French claim about empowering women, a move that is based mainly on anti-Islam discourse, which adopts the idea that all Muslim women are oppressed and wear the veil against their will, and that they need help to confront masculine power.
According to the writer, a large part of this mentality is attributed to the imperialist legacy of France, which occupied many Muslim countries in Africa and the Middle East during the twentieth century, and worked to separate religion and the Arabic language from public affairs, and this colonial mentality did not fade over time, but rather formed the roots of Islamophobia which characterize the trends of the French state in the current period.
On March 30 of last year, the French Senate voted in favor of the “Separatist Law”, which “aims to impose the values of the republic and give the state the necessary tools to fight Islamic extremism.” France claims that one of the pillars of this law is to resist all forms of oppression and violation of women’s dignity.
The author believes that the French government suffers from a “saviour” complex, as it claims to support ethnic minority women, but dictates what they should wear, so is it logical to empower women by taking away their free will and right to choose.