Monday, November 26

The Politics of the Veil

A Look into the Muslim Headscarf Hysteria in France Laila Lalami, The Nation. The social controversies over Muslim headscarves and the politics of identity in contemporary France are the subject of a new book, The Politics of the Veil.

In her keenly observed book The Politics of the Veil, historian Joan Wallach Scott examines the particular French obsession with the foulard, which culminated in March 2004 with the adoption of a law that made it illegal for students to display any "conspicuous signs" of religious affiliation. The law further specified that the Muslim headscarf, the Jewish skullcap and large crosses were not to be worn but that "medallions, small crosses, stars of David, hands of Fatima, and small Korans" were permitted. Despite the multireligious contortions, it was very clear, of course, that the law was primarily aimed at Muslim schoolgirls.

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