Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Useful Provocation

The NPA has on its ticket in the Vaucluse one Ilham Moussaïd, a Muslim woman who wears a veil. This is an excellent move, I think. It points up the hypocrisy of defending discrimination against Muslims in the name of equality between the sexes, which has lately been erected into the "republican" value par excellence by parties that routinely ignore the parity law that is supposed to work toward equality between the sexes in the political sphere. There can be no question that Mme Moussaïd is wearing her veil voluntarily. Nor can it be alleged that, as a candidate for a party of the extreme left, she is promoting Islamist attacks on the Republic. Bien joué, Besancenot et cie.


brent said...

Hamon, Aubry (and countless others) make a gratuitous category error when they decry Mlle. Moussaïd's foulard as a 'religious' intrusion into the public sphere. Like clothing in general her headwear is of course 'cultural'--and the culture of clothing does make distinctions, and even introduce inequalities, between men and women. Mmes. Aubry and Royal would have a lot to say about that if they dared. But as you suggest, Art, the brouhaha about Moussaïd is not just a misunderstanding but a sop to voters whose France of the mind includes neither minarets nor veils. Aubry's deplorable remarks are a step toward the ethnic cleansing of the public sphere, and the distance between the PS and Le Pen has never been shorter.

kirkmc said...

I think the reactions are a disgrace. I'm strongly against the burqa/niqab, but I don't see a headscarf as being a problem. But the way they present this woman, "un feministe laique", is odd; if she's "laique", then why is she wearing it?

Unknown said...

Maybe for the same reason that Fabius agrees to be called "a Jew" even though he was raised a Catholic: when others make an issue of your cultural roots and preferences and affiliation, you may react by insisting on them as the more courageous response.

Unknown said...

And you may also want to defend the right of other women to declare their cultural and religious affiliations if they so choose.

Boris said...

"Nor can it be alleged that, as a candidate for a party of the extreme left, she is promoting Islamist attacks on the Republic. Bien joué, Besancenot et cie."

IMHO this is naive.
1) Islamists can and do use NPA (or the Communist Party, or whatever it takes) as a Trojan horse
2) NPA (or Communists) want to get some share of the muslim vote and are closing their eyes to what the muslim activits want - they are "objective" allies.
At the municipal level, it is quite clear that many cities have remained in the hands of communists only thanked to a red-green alliance, which is very strange to watch but very real

Cincinna said...

The veil, in all its manifestations is not a religious statement, but political one. One of supporting radical Islam.

I agree with Boris on the naivete of your assumptions.

Not the first time in History that radical Islam and the hard core Left have united. They have a lot in common and a common enemy. Listen to what they say, support, write, and fund, not so much what they wear.

Boz said...

Well, it looks like the Reds have got a better grasp of the civil part of liberalism than most other French pols. Now if they only came around to the economic part...

Cincinna said...

Hey, Boz LTNS
An interesting Blogger on the subject:
Werner Cohn

Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of British Columbia

Olivier Besancenot: Mail Carrier, Recent Candidate for the French Presidency, Leader of the (Trotskyist) New Anti-Capitalist Party, and Anti-Israel Activist

For the Left in France, both traditional and new, there is a bit of a dilemma: one the one hand, its politics have historically been defined by a strict secularism (religion being the opiate of the people, and all that). But on the other hand, at least since 1967, the Left (except perhaps for some groups within the Socialist Party) has also been pledged to work against Israel. Now the most anti-Israel political force of them all is that of the religious, militant Islamists. What is there for a poor leftist do: make common cause with the Islamists and be considered soft on secularism ? Or denounce the militant Islamists and be considered soft on Zionism ?

Obviously, this being a French matter, and more particularly a matter for the much-fissured French Left, there have been a number of ways in which the dilemma has been faced. A very revealing article by Jean-Yves Camus, The French Left and Political Islam: Secularism Versus the Temptation of an Alliance, surveys the field.