France Creates a Hijab Ban


Courtesy of Instagram

An image of Rawdah Mohamed, wearing a hijab, holding up her hand with the saying “Hands off my hijab”.

Karina Sayali Shah, Photojournalist

On March 30, the French Senate voted in favor of legislation that, if passed, would ban all Muslim minors from wearing hijabs in public spaces. The legislation may also prohibit Muslim women from wearing burkinis, or full-coverage swimsuits, in public pools. To add, ban hijab-wearing mothers from going on school trips with their children. This amendment was introduced by the right-wing party of France called Republicans. Many people believe the introduction of the legislature was merely an attempt for this conservative party to align more voters into their already dying party. This directly targets more than four million Muslims living in France ( 

Many activists have criticized this event in French legislation as an act of Islamophobia. Although the law still needs to be approved by France’s National Assembly before it is in effect, this is not the first piece of legislation that has gone against Muslims within France. In 2010, France was the first Western country to ban full-face veils in public. To add, they started a debate over Banning headscarves and coverings in general. At the time, there was much controversy, but the law is still in effect ( It has also been illegal since 2004 for French children to wear hijabs or head scarfs in French public schools. 

 The latest proposal in France is based on “anti-separatism”;  anti-separatism aims to show a country’s secular values. The president of France, Emmanuel Macron, felt that the hijab was not in accordance with French ideals of liberation.  She feels that “ a ban on face coverings empowers women”. He also feels that some religious clothing shows lower status for women than men ( Rahaf Ibrahim (11), analyzes this point and says “France says that the hijab does not reconcile with their ideology. I raise the question of how a piece of cloth can go against an ideology because we all know it’s not the cloth, it’s the religion behind it. It’s a disgusting ban that infringes on freedom of the people”

This legislation has triggered national, and international, outrage all over social media mainly.  it has started the  #handsoffmyhijab movement. People all over the world are speaking out on the Islamophobia that this law presents. This is due to the legislation directly targeting France’s minority Muslim women population. One of the leading activists of this movement is Rawdah Mohamed, is a model in France who has been speaking out against this and fueling the movement to fight islamophobia in France. She started the #handsoffmyhijab by posting a powerful image on her Instagram (attached) and has gone on to speak on news channels and all over social media. She says “women like me have always been ignored. If we are not going to be invited to the conversation I am going to just take up the space and speak my voice” ( 

Islamophobia, a clear part of France’s legislation, has been an extremely controversial and upsetting event in the public eye. The Muslim community has faced a great range of oppression through legislation and society’s ideals that continue, even into modern times. It is important to be aware of the changes in the world that may not affect you, or do, to understand how the world is constantly moving forward and backward.