From France 24:

France will start enforcing a ban next month on full Islamic face veils, officials said on Thursday, meaning any veiled woman can be summoned to a police station and asked to remove her face-covering or pay a fine.

Officials say the law is mainly symbolic and police will not call in every veiled woman they see to avoid stigmatising Muslims.
But a Paris imam said forcing veiled women to present themselves at a police station would be just as uncomfortable.
When France passed the ban on full face veils last year, Muslim leaders voiced concern it could lead to veiled women being unfairly treated by police or singled out for harassment.
“My gut reaction is to say this is all a bit clumsy,” said Moussa Niambele, the imam of a mosque in the north of Paris.




Charlemagne, for the Economist:

FOR all its grand central squares and lively cultural scene, the Belgian port of Antwerp is not always a happy town. Flemish old-timers share its gritty streets with Arabs, Africans, Asians and, in the diamond district, Hasidic Jews. Race relations are not easy: in the latest local elections, a third of the vote went to Vlaams Belang, an anti-immigrant, far-right Flemish nationalist party. The handsome stone bulk of the Royal Atheneum, a once-elite state school with a 200-year history, has produced legendary free-thinkers and radicals in its day. Now, however, it is enjoying unhappy fame: as the centre of an experiment in multiculturalism wrecked by intolerance. The story defies neat conclusions.


By Jonathon Lyons, for the Miami Herald:

Recent public opinion surveys show a majority of Americans see “little” or “nothing” to admire in Islam or the Muslim world. Seventy percent say Islam has nothing in common with their own faith, an increase from 59 percent two years earlier.

Those with the strongest anti-Muslim views rely most on the media — not personal experience, travel or study — for their information about Islam. Nor is the nation’s educational elite any less immune to the power of the predominant media narrative of Islam as irrevocably violent, anti-modern, anti-women and anti-democratic.

This same narrative dominates every aspect of the way we think and speak about Islam. It shapes how we listen to what Muslims say and how we interpret what it is they do. As such, it exercises a corrosive effect on everything from politics and theology to international relations, human rights and national security policies, including today’s “war on terrorism.”


After the death of Neda Soltani, a sixteen-year-old Iranian philosophy student, the Western world remembered her as a martyr fighting for her freedom, and a symbol of resistance. Images of her were utilized in protests against the Iranian regime in order to show them their inhumanity, and the opponents’ solidarity. However, when it came to the oppression of the Uighurs, particularly women, in China as well as the horrendous murder of Marwa Sherbini, a thirty-two-year-old Egyptian mother of two, in Germany, the Western media, as well as its commentators, tried to shift the blame on the Muslim world for not protesting the incident; instead of focusing on their own double standards when it comes to the oppression of women.