I posted about the woman being denied French citizenship, but I realize I didn’t get to my main concern about the action. I got distracted looking at the religious aspects. But deep down what’s important about this is to think about why it’s being done, and what, if anything, does it signify or accomplish. Some of the following is from a comment I wrote in the previous post.

In theory, if you demand someone adhere to certain values, it’s because you want to inculcate, to propagate those values, right? So how does this spread “equality of the sexes” if she’s sent back to a country where it’s much less likely she’ll encounter such equality or ever dare to demand it? On the other hand, maybe the authorities fear her lack of this value will be a contaminating influence on French culture. Perhaps they can demonstrate that French people, since the onset of Muslim immigration want to turn back the clock on equal rights and put women back in the kitchen? Right, its absurd. If you want a woman to know she should demand her equality and independence – you do not sentence her to a strict Muslim life in Morocco. So this is not about fighting sexism.

Which begs the question – What is it about? What is the point?

The point of course, is to discourage certain displays of religion, and certain religions altogether, to send a message that those cultural signifiers are not welcome. For me, not being a fan of religion, I’m fine if it disappears. But this particular way of attacking religion is counter-productive and inhumane. This is punishing an individual, denying them an obviously better life, this is not helping someone to understand they do not have to be treated like chattel because of their sex.

If the authorities truly cared about this woman, truly hoped to instill “French” values like equality of the sexes (and yes I’m putting French in quotes cuz I believe morals have no borders) they would provide mandatory counseling courses on, say, domestic violence, for women coming from certain countries. They would ensure she has access to important social services, make sure she knows she has options. They have the power to make sure that women immigrants, as a condition for legalization, are given orientations, or assigned social workers who check in on them, that there is assistance if they need it. Women who live like this are most likely constantly undervalued and told they are not good enough in a million ways, this is just adding another insult to the list. Telling her she’s “not French enough” is the lazy, hate-mongering, simplistic, and narrow minded approach to a real, tangible difficulty being experienced in Europe. These women need a helping hand, not a slap in the face.

Islam is here in Europe. Period. It’s not going away. This, sending a message to all the other Muslims who practice as does this woman, that certain Muslims are “un-French” and “incompatible”, is not the way to deal with the difficulties created by that presence. If the authorities tell you you’re “not French”, why feel any loyalty to that nation? Could anything be more divisive? This is the way to make sure Muslims feel ever more threatened, defensive, excluded and under attack. Which, in turn is the perfect way to build and angry, disadvantaged, discontented population ready to lash out at it’s adopted homeland in retaliation for crushed hopes of a better life in a society of liberty, equality and fraternity (let’s not forget sorority too eh?).

And that angry retaliation is, of course, exactly what xenophobic, racist types want – because it will give them the perfect excuse to be even more hate-filled in the future. And so it goes…