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Calls for French women’s minister to quit over veil ‘slavery’ row

PARIS: France’s women’s rights minister faced growing criticism on Thursday, including calls on social media to resign, after comparing women who wear the Muslim headscarf and veil to “negroes who supported slavery”. An online petition that collected nearly 18,000 signatures within hours urged Prime Minister Manuel Valls to punish Laurence Rossignol, while a leading French...

SAMAA | - Posted: Mar 31, 2016 | Last Updated: 5 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Mar 31, 2016 | Last Updated: 5 years ago
Calls for French women’s minister to quit over veil ‘slavery’ row

FILES-FRANCE-ISLAM-LIFESTYLE-FASHION
PARIS: France’s women’s rights minister faced growing criticism on Thursday, including calls on social media to resign, after comparing women who wear the Muslim headscarf and veil to “negroes who supported slavery”.

An online petition that collected nearly 18,000 signatures within hours urged Prime Minister Manuel Valls to punish Laurence Rossignol, while a leading French Muslim group accused her of aiding the Daesh group.

It was as if she had “set out to help the recruiters of Daesh”, said Abdallah Zekri, president of the National Observatory against Islamophobia.

The minister had “stigmatised” thousands of women, he added, and “spat in the face of the (secular) laws of the Republic by trying to interfere with the way women dressed.”

The row was also trending on Twitter across France with a hashtag #RossignolDemission (#RossignolResign) demanding that she step down.

The League of French Muslim Women also condemned her comments, calling them “dangerous and irresponsible” and reminding her that women who wear the veil and headscarf were the main victims of racist attacks in the street.

“It is all the more surprising because the government has just launched an (advertising) campaign against racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia,” the league’s statement added.

Rossignol, who is also minister of family and child matters, tried to row back on the comments made during a radio interview Wednesday.

She told AFP the n-word was a reference to an abolitionist tract by the French philosopher Montesquieu, “On the Enslavement of Negroes”.

Her controversial remarks came as she was asked about the wave of big fashion chains that have followed the Italian designers Dolce & Gabbana in catering specifically to the Muslim market, creating lines of hajib headscarves and “burqini” all-body swimming costumes. –AFP

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