A “hijab” the sport due to a controversy in France

Un «hidjab» de sport cause une polémique en France

Photo: Pascal Guyot Agence France-Presse
The group Decathlon, has abandoned the marketing of the hijab sport after an outcry from elected officials from all political sides.

The controversy in France about the hijab sport, that the group Decathlon, has abandoned the marketing after an outcry from elected officials from all political sides, recalled two years after the case of the burkini the tensions around the thorny issue of secularism.

The irruption of the mode of islamic in the public space raises regularly tollés in France, arousing often the misunderstanding abroad. “Once again, France made a whole drama of the choice of attire of muslim women “, thus wrote Tuesday in the Washington Post.

The arrows have been shot in a few hours, both sides of the French political chess-board.

The “boycott” has been claimed both by Valérie Rabault, president of the socialist group in the national Assembly, and the leader of the party sovereigntist Standing in France, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan.

The spokesperson of the party, presidential Republic in march, Aurore Bergé, said that she will not ” trust in a brand that breaks with our values “, joined by Lydia Guirous, spokesman of the Republicans (right), accusing the brand of” support the submission of women “.

The controversy has inflamed the social networks in France while the brand has shown on Twitter having been inundated with calls and e-mails of insults and threats, also referring to the employees in the stores, ” sometimes physically “.

“A hysterization” of the debate, reported Wednesday by the French minister of Justice, Nicole Belloubet, who recalled that the hijab, “which leaves the face open and visible,” according to the brand, was not contrary to the law on secularism, and public order.

As a staff, however, she felt that ” the sport, it is the values of universalism “, and that she does not see ” why women have caused themselves to wear this type of clothing “.

In a commentary for the Huffington Post, the French secretary of State for equality of women and men, Marlène Schiappa, opposed the ban on the hijab, considered ” necessary to [reflect on] this choice philosophically “. “What is the message that France address the courageous women who, in many countries of the world, remove their veil at the peril of their lives ?” asks she.

The government spokesperson Benjamin Griveaux is, to him, remained cryptic, ranking ” on the side of freedom of conscience and freedom tout court “.

Only the minister of Sports, Roxana Maracineanu, took a clear stand for the sale of this type of clothes : “I want to go search for the women, the mothers, the young girls wherever they are and as they are, encourage the practice of sport, as it is, I am convinced, a powerful lever of emancipation “, she tweeted.

In 2016 in France, the marketing of islamic veils by luxury brands, western or, still more, the municipal antiburkini (bathing suit for women that covers the torso as well as a part of the members and of the head) on the beaches (eventually invalidated by the highest administrative jurisdiction in france) had fuelled the debate.

This new controversy, ” it is madness “, said the sociologist Raphael Liogier. “What is the common point between the idea of being more elegant, to bathe or sport in public ? In all three cases, it is forbidden in islam, ” recalls the author of The war of civilizations will not take place. “These women who wear these clothes are for the modernization of islam. So, in asking to remove the hijab, it supports the fundamentalists “, he adds.

“The more one drives them into the women who wear the scarf to remove it or they are guilty, the more the fundamentalists find legitimacy and say : “See, France is against islam, so hold on to your faith,” “, abounds Farhad Khosrokhavar, director of studies at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (Ehess).

According to the researcher, ” the idéologisation of the headscarf in France is increasingly distant from the real world. […] Everywhere now, there are women who wear the headscarf and who participate in the public space, in politics, in fashion… We are here in an archaic form of secularism.”


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