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Niqabs and hot pants: French women protest the burqa ban


Two women decided to take their anger to the streets this week in protest of France's burqa ban. They approached the protest in perfect French fashion: reinterpreting the way a niqab is traditionally worn. The anonymous women paired the face veil with hot pants and heels.

Set to a jaunty French tune a Beastie Boys' song, the video shows two women touring the city, posing for photographs and stopping by government offices. (Editorial note: the original video, which can be viewed here, does not have a jaunty French tune. That came courtesy of the Telegraph. The creators of the video had a more explicit message in their music choice, one with a few more expletives than our Web site can host.)

On the news Web site, rue89, the women, political science and communication students in their 20s, wrote, "To put a simple burka on would have been too simple. So we asked ourselves: 'how would the authorities react when faced with women wearing a burka and mini-shorts?'" One of the women is Muslim, the Telegraph reports.

Muslim author Sonia Jabbar writes the protest targets those who "object to the tops while delighting in the bottoms."

Much of the debate in France over the law revolves around the question of a Muslim woman's choice to wear a niqab. French President Nicolas Sarkozy's framed the debate over the law as protecting Muslim women from being forced to wear full-face veils. However, many Muslim women argue that wearing the niqab is a choice they make as part of their religious practice.

The Post's Zehra Rizavi points out the irony in this argument: "Assuming that all women who wear the burka or the niqab are wearing it under duress, it doesn't follow that men, like the French President Nicolas Sarkozy, ought to command a woman not to wear it."

Last week, the Post's On Faith blog asked "What does a Muslim woman look like?"

"I find a catholic nun's habit more intimidating there is no difference between a hijab and a habit worn by a nun, both are similar and symbols of religion," wrote one reader.

What do you think? What do you make of the protest?

(Warning: there is some PG-13 language used in the video and very long, French legs make an appearance.)

By Melissa Bell  | October 4, 2010; 12:27 PM ET
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Posted by: Nabihah | October 4, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

jaunty french tune indeed :) a tad more provocative than the silly video...did nobody over there pick up on this?
kind of icky to trivialize ni putes ni soumises too.

Posted by: pjb31 | October 5, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

What I think is a fully justifiable reason for prohibiting the burqa is security.
a person wearing it is hard to identify,and
one can hide under it more than under, say, a balaclava. Don't know why this obvious problem is rarely mentioned.

Posted by: svato | October 5, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

What I think is a fully justifiable reason for prohibiting the burqa is security.
a person wearing it is hard to identify,and
one can hide under it more than under, say, a balaclava. Don't know why this obvious problem is rarely mentioned.

Posted by: svato | October 5, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Women dressed that way walking alone in any French, Swedish, Dutch Muslim neighborhood would brand themselves as available sluttish harlots wanting to be taken by one of more believing men. If they were taken, as some Australian mullahs said after a string of gang rapes in Sydney, "the women were asking for it with their immodest dress". One Lebanese religious leader in Sydney said young Muslim men "cannot but be driven insane by such exposed and available female meat".

Not only that, but phone calls would be received by the family of the dishonored Muslim mini-skirt wearer - letting them know the raped Muslim gal committed a great offense against their family honor.

Overseas, such attire would be considered highly offensive and immodest, even blaspheming Islam - in most Muslim countries. The two French women would be lucky to escape a major street beating and then imprisonment if they showed up in public like that. Even gang rape. But they would be arrested, fined, deported..Or if they showed up like that at the airport, either arrested or locked up in a secure airport area with the infidel women having the niquab ripped off her as mocking them, and the Muslim woman forced into modest attire - bundled on the next plane to France.

Two silly clueless women thing they were making "a statement". They did. That neither has any idea of the world as it is.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | October 5, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

This is silly video and makes no significant point, but I do agree that any woman who wears a full burqua is doing so against her will - even if she believes it is her own choice. The idea that the nun habit and burqua are both symbols of religion is a poor analogy at least in modern times. Most nuns today do not even wear habits. The burqua today is a symbol of muslim male sexual insecurity and his need to dominate and control women. It is not about a woman's modesty. A simple headress/modest clothes can do that.

Posted by: DidiB | October 5, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Imagine that a Mouslim would let his wife or daughter in such public ? Well organised joke. Trogi.

Posted by: federepubelge1 | October 6, 2010 4:13 AM | Report abuse

Ooh-la-la, very nice and french.

The burqa should be shorter.

And to the author, don't we usually call those short-shorts? Not sure if I've heard them called hot-pants since the 1970s...

Posted by: omarsidd | October 11, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

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