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France's new ban on Islamic face veils was met with a burst of defiance Monday, as several women appeared veiled in front of Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral and two were detained for taking part in an unauthorized protest.

France on Monday became the world's first country to ban the veils anywhere in public, from outdoor marketplaces to the sidewalks and boutiques of the Champs-Elysees.


A couple of years ago I saw a woman on the Champs Elysees, dressed head-to-toe in a fashionable black niqab, carrying chic little shopping bags from lingerie shops.

The French ought to be consistent to some degree, and tear down those little calvaires that are at just about every crossroads in the countryside.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

" ... women may bare their breasts in Cannes but not cover their faces on the Champs-Elysée."



Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Does the law exempt bride and widow veils or is that Christian enough?

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

I'll answer my own question.  Of course it does.  Note the use of "tradtional' ceremonies.  That will be Xian traditions of course.


The law says it is illegal to hide the face in the public space, but makes exceptions to allow for motorcycle helmets, traditional ceremonies such as weddings or Carnival costumes.


Sarkozy's arms dealer and business acquaintances will rush to the Middle East, to the Gulf, to North Africa, at the next available opportunity to sign multi-billion euro contracts. Here they will intermingle with Muslims, male and female (yes females also step out of their homes in the Arab world) who, lo and behold, may be veiled.

Why are they veiled? Not because their husbands beat them into covering their heads and faces but because they have chosen to do so. (Is it really so hard to believe that they can decide for themselves?) Now France may well have a problem with such a choice. Then it should make a point by breaking all relations with this region, so that the rest of the world knows what the French feel about the practice of niqab, and, for that matter, halal food and Islamic finance. And, for good measure, perhaps male circumcision too. It is always good to know where people and governments stand on certain issues. Sarkozy and his coterie should have enough courage to declare publicly their animosity towards Islamic practices, if indeed that is what they harbour.

French government policy will not create some form of 'moderate Islam' by forcing women to uncover their faces. If it has achieved anything, it has successfully unveiled French hypocrisy and bigotry towards Muslims. The people of the Middle East are not fooled by France's diversionary tactics in pretending to back human rights in Libya



Unveiling French hypocrisy


What about his last paragraph:

Lest anyone ask how Gaddafi's brutality should be dealt with if not militarily, that is not the point of contention. The Gaddafi gang rightly needs to be defeated with broad international, including Arab, military support. Suffice to say that France need not overexert itself in this endeavour given how bankrupt its recent policies have proven. A tiresome, hypocritical, wannabe global power will not redeem itself so easily.

This author is sitting in the UAE, calling for the right to wear the niqab in France and international military action to overthrow Gaddafi. He seems to know what is best for everyone and is prepared to sacrifice (no doubt other people's) lives to prove it. Not a very persuasive ally.



Like he said, the fate of Ghaddafi's government is not the point of contention here.  French hypocrisy regarding "democratic values" vs. the right to wear the clothes of one's choosing is his issue.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

France bans public Muslim prayers

MUSLIMS will be banned from praying outdoors in France from today in the latest move by officials to remove Islam from the public sphere.

The ban, announced by the government yesterday, infuriated French Muslim leaders, one of whom accused President Sarkozy's government of treating them like cattle.

They say that Muslims, who pray outdoors only because of a lack of space in mosques in France, feel stigmatised.

But Claude Gueant, the Interior Minister, said that the sight of hundreds of people gathering in the streets of Paris and other cities for Friday prayers was "shocking".

It comes after laws to prohibit pupils from wearing headscarves in schools and women from wearing the niqab, the full Muslim veil, in public.

Mr Gueant described outlawing street prayers as the latest brick in the wall that is shoring up the secular nature of the French state. He said that he had nothing against Islam, but wanted it out of the public eye.



France Won't Push Austerity on Poor Despite Deficits (and vid)

"The Socialists will plug an 8 billion euro deficit this year by increasing taxes on corporations and the wealthy. They confirmed their 75 percent tax on millionaires, overturned a scheduled rise in the sales tax and promised that lower and middle class citizens will be protected from tax increases..."

compare this to Canada's austerity budgets by Cons and savage Lib-NDP attack on poor in Ontario's budget.


French Police Raid Home of Former President Nicolas Sarkozy

"The raids are reportedly linked to a campaign finance corruption scandal involving billionaire L'Oreal heiress Lilian return for offering the cosmetics magnate tax breaks once he came to power.."

Catchfire Catchfire's picture


Female French Minister receives sexist catcalls by Colleagues in parliament for wearing floral dress

It’s just another Tuesday at the French Parliament. A minister of the newly appointed socialist government stands to speak. She’s a woman. She’s wearing a dress. A floral dress. The hem hits below the knee and the neckline shows little cleavage but the right-wing lawmakers in the room can hardly contain themselves. They start hooting and oohing as she takes the microphone. It’s difficult to hear the beginning of her address.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Cécile Duflot says. “Obviously, more gentlemen than ladies,” she adds after a short pause. The French housing minister, otherwise famous for sporting jeans to a Cabinet meeting, goes on to finish her speech.

This scene took place at the beginning of the week. Since then, a video of the incident posted online has caused outrage in France. Especially after one of the happy hecklers, Patrick Balkany, told the right-leaning paper Le Figaro that he was only “admiring” Duflot’s looks and that she probably “put on that dress so that we wouldn’t listen to what she was saying.” Understand: In France, male politicians are easily distracted. Or perhaps they’re just pigs.

Some ghastly reports of sexism in the French halls of power. Duflot, apparently, besides having excellent fashion sense, also takes public transit to and from work. How can I vote for her?



France local elections: Conservatives hold off National Front


France Continues War Hysteria With Claim of 'Permanent' Terror Threat (and vid)

"Since the Charlie Hebdo attacks, many analysts have called France a nation under siege. The deaths of 17 innocent people have sparked a hugely disproportionate response; more than 10,000 machine-gun toting soldiers remain on the streets and Parliament has grabbed sweeping new powers..."


The Collapse of French Intellectual Diversity  -  by Andre Vltchek

"Meditations on a zombie culture..."

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

There are many examples in history when the Conservative candidate runs against a fascist candidate, the people will back the Conservative candidate in a runoff election.


Swallow, NDPP also posted that dreadful article over there.

montrealer, other than people holding their noses and voting for Chirac against Le Pen père, there was the famous "vote for the crook" against David Duke in Louisiana.

swallow swallow's picture

That francophobic article is already being discussed in the media forum.

[edit for clarity]


Unfortunate but rto be expected. The anti 'killing guns" forces will have to become more vocal and not allow themselves t obe drowned out by the nuts.

Front National wins opening round in France's regional elections

Marine Le Pen’s party capitalises on Paris attacks to win 27-30% of national vote, the highest the party has ever scored in a local election


Why the right wing succeeds.

France’s cowardly elite is to blame for the rise of Marine Le Pen

The Front National has exploited terrorism and the migration crisis. But the real driver of its popularity is poor government


May I ask why on earth you posted this rightwing hatefest?


'Our Enemies Live In Our Own Country' - French Mayor

"Islamophobia on the rise..."


French MPs vote to force supermarkets to give away unsold food

Anti-food waste proposal, described as ‘a crucial measure for the planet’, passed unanimously in the Assemblée Nationale

Arash Derambarsh, centre, a local councillor who campaigned for the anti-waste law


Is France Building An Apartheid State?

"Dynamics in French society have come to resemble those of Israel-Palestine."


Bravo on the food law!

The Alternet article takes a real problem and exaggerates it to the point of absurdity. Canada, with its reserves and Indian Act, has a lot more in common with "apartheid" than France does. What France does have is the aftermath of its colonial policies, but the reasons for violent "radicalization" among a fringe of French descendants of North and West Africans are far more complex.

There is a high degree of intermarriage between the children of immigrants from the former colonies and "pure porc" Frenchpeople. And not all people of Maghrebi or West African descent are living in misery or excluded from the labour market, far from it. Even the description of the Périphérique is ludicrous. It is a "concrete barrier" in the psychological sense - also very ugly, and disgusting carcentric planning - but it is not a bit harder to walk, cycle or drive under than the boulevard Métropolitain in northern Montréal (another ugly piece of shit). Saint-Denis and Saint-Ouen are far from entirely "ghetto" suburbs (there are far worse ones, usually plagued by isolation and poor transport links - Saint-Ouen borders Paris - the famous flea market is located there - and Saint-Denis just north of there, with an ancient town centre and a top university.

Another thing I dislike is labelling people who may or may not be religious as "Muslims". That is very recent - when the Marche des Beurs occurred in the 1980s to call for equal rights for young people of Maghrebi descent, they were protesting as "Beurs" (Arabs in the French version of backwards slang, called Verlan), Maghrebis or North Africans. Idem West or Central Africans (the latter often Christian) who were protesting racism against Black people. France is a very secular country and not in name only - a high percentage of people from those regions are not religious or only nominally Muslim. There has been a rise in fundamentalism and strict observance but there are many people from those backgrounds who resent it deeply.

There are deep problems in France, obviously including racism and entrenched class discrimination (as in most other capitalist countries, non?) but such a caricature does not contribute to understand how to organize to fight these, and the positive accomplishments of France such as a secular education system.


good points, Lagatta

and yes, Alternet way over the top and not knowledgeable about France; that's the usual for them


The Paris Attacks Are Just the Beginning

Expansion of the militarized French police state



National Front draws a blank in French regional polls


Yes, normally I'm not very fond of strategic voting, but I'd make an exception in those cases. I don't suppose French citizens who live here can vote in regional elections, as they aren't living in a French region...

In Montréal and the rest of Québec, the right (not the far-right, more the Gaullists) used to win, but in the last several elections, Québec Frenchpersons have voted on the left. The demographics of that immigration has changed considerably.


IMF Chief Faces Trial in 400 M EUR Payout Case

"A French court judging ministers for crimes in office has ordered the managing director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, to stand trial over her alleged role in a payout case involving hundreds of millions of euros. The French finance minister has said that Lagarde can stay as IMF chief as she is 'presumed innocent.'



The French Regional Elections: The Gang of Three

"Nothing has changed on the Left. Nothing changes because nothing is permitted to change. The oligarchy still commands the future."


Paris Attack Fallout: Airport Sacks Muslim Employees For 'Long Beards'

"Two Muslim security guards have been fired from Orly airport for having long beards as this caused unease among passengers."


Have you noticed the origin of the article? A guy from La Nouvelle action royaliste. Royalists in France aren't cute old ladies and gentlemen toasting the Queen and sipping tea with dainty sandwiches; they are a constituent element of the far right.

The political process is blocked in terms of the emergence of new parties in many countries; we should be looking at Spain and what might possibly be emerging there, though the Greek example does not lend itself to a great deal of optimism.

It is also important to keep in mind that politics is not simply a matter of parties; social movements also play an important role therein.


French Government Proposes Constitutional Amendment on State of Emergency, Deprivation of Citizenship

"French President Francois Hollande and PM Manuel Valls presented to the council of ministers yesterday an amendment inscribing the state of emergency in the French constitution..."


Muslim Prayer Hall Damaged, Copies of Koran Burnt in Overnight Rampage in Corsica

"Anti-Muslim sentiment is rising in France. Political analayst Cecile le Roux, told RT the 'absolutely awful' events in Corsica are the obvious consquences of policies pursued by French President Francois Hollande and his government.

According to le Roux, the introduction of a state of emergency, which saw 7,000 searched without warrant, 'really seems to be a very vote-collecting oriented' move by the authorities."

voice of the damned

lagatta wrote:

Have you noticed the origin of the article? A guy from La Nouvelle action royaliste. Royalists in France aren't cute old ladies and gentlemen toasting the Queen and sipping tea with dainty sandwiches; they are a constituent element of the far right.

Based on their wikipedia article, they actually do sound more like old-style anglosphere Red Tory(eg. Michael Valpy in Canada) than like far-right chauvinists.

QUOTE:The members of the NAR are sometimes described as "royalists of the left", due to close relations to certain ideas defended by the parties of the left.[2] Its leader, Bertrand Renouvin appealed to his supporters to vote for Socialist François Mitterrand in both the 1981 and 1988 presidential elections. In November 1989, the NAR joined the 89 pour l'égalité movement, which campaigned to get voting rights for immigrants[3] alongside SOS Racisme.[4] At the time of the 2002 presidential elections, Renouvin chose to support the candidature of Jean-Pierre Chevènement,[5] the only souverainist able in Renouvin's view to gather the good will of both left and right for the purpose of regaining France her position in the world.


That said, like many of those sentimental "Red Tory"-types, they do seem a little naive about things. The writer of that article laments that Marine Le Pen is "play[ing] wedge politics on potential ethno-religious conflict", and posits "national unity" as the opposite of this approach. As if the FN are just a bunch of well-meaning communitarians who have haplessly stumbled into a racist posture.Rather than a party whose whole rasion d'etre is racism to begin with.


'Still No Fear': Tear-Gas, Firecrackers & Stones At Anti-Labor Reforms Rally in Paris (photos and vid)

"Tear gas was deployed against a massive rally in Paris denouncing recently proposed labor reform..."


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

‘Soon we will be millions’: from Paris with love and lessons

Thousands gather every evening in the Place de la République, and even more during the days and nights of the weekends. Assemblies are held every evening at 6pm, with people of a wide diversity of ages and social classes taking part. The plaza begins to fill around 5pm with circles of people standing and sitting, talking under cardboard signs to identify the theme of their discussion, including groups on economics, education, facilitation, feminism, housing and ecology.

Then, around 5:30pm high school students march in together, chanting and singing behind sheets painted with their school names. By assembly time there are always medical, legal, media, library and kitchen areas. And, somehow, as with every occupation I have witnessed, there is a meditation circle a few meters from the drummers. Everything is so wonderfully familiar, having participated in similar assemblies and plaza occupations, from New York to California, Athens to Thessaloniki, Madrid to Barcelona, Buenos Aires to Cordoba — and on and on…

Brimming with Democracy

Paris is alive with democracy. Real democracy. Overflowing the streets and squares. People speaking and hearing one another in assembly after assembly. Growing in number, geography and diversity. The movement that first began with high school students rebelling against the police killing of a student, and then mass resistance to a potential rollback of long-held labor protections, spread to people speaking in squares, trying to occupy them at night, being repressed, and coming back the next day, and the next, and the next.

This is not a protest. People here are creating something different. They are not making one demand — they are speaking to one another insisting on “real democracy”, meaning face-to-face discussions about their own lives and things that matter most to them. And when and if they do come up with demands, it will have been out of these sorts of discussions — decided horizontally and together. There are now dozens of squares holding assemblies nightly in France alone. Many more dozens of similarly organized movements are springing up in other parts of Europe and Canada as I write.....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

A French Spring

A new movement against labor market deregulation is taking shape in France. Since February, when the Socialist Party (PS) government of François Hollande and Manuel Valls announced a proposed reform of the French labor code (code du travail), a wave of protests has swept across the country. On March 9, 500,000 people participated in a national day of action; an additional 1.2 million joined trade union demonstrations on March 31; and on April 9, tens of thousands more marched in Paris and other French cities against the law.

One of the impressive aspects of the new movement is the sheer number of cities and towns where protests have been organized: more than 250 on March 31 alone. That day, bad weather depressed turnout in the French capital. But despite the rain, hundreds of protesters gathered that night in Paris’s Place de la République, in the first of the “Nuit Debout” occupations.

In the weeks that followed, copycat Nuit Debout events started popping up all over France. Tens of thousands flocked to République to participate in nighttime mass meetings.


All of this comes at a time of heightened repression and police violence. Despite the “state of emergency” that’s been in force since the November 13 attacks in Paris, officials have so far shied away from an outright ban on the gatherings. But the government’s suspension of civil liberties has given France’s famously violent national police a green light to crackdown on protests against the labor law.

Demonstrations have been tear-gassed; protesters have been violently dispersed; in many cities, activists have been beaten and arrested, High-school students have faced particularly harsh measures: in late March, video of one student at a north Paris high school being beaten by the CRS sparked national outrage (leading prosecutors to file charges against one of the officers involved).....


Clashes, Tear Gas as Police Evict 277 Asylum Seekers From Paris High School (and vid)

"Police in Paris have deployed tear gas against demonstrators and refugees who protested the authorities' decision to evict at least 277 asylum seekers who had been living in a high school under renovation for about 2 weeks..."


US-Led France Ignored Reality in Syria, Harmed Itself With Russia Sanctions - Former French Intel Boss

"The French government ignored its own intelligence in dealing with crises in Ukraine and Syria and recklessly followed Washington's lead by joining anti-Russian sanctions, dealing a huge blow to its agriculture, said a former French intelligence boss..."

In Canada, which followed a similar policy, there is unfortunately no intelligence to ignore. Russophobic liberals are in full stupid support.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture



Opinion polling for the French presidential election, 2017


Francois Fillon 'was paid $50,000 to arrange meeting with Vladimir Putin'

It comes as French Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux resigns over his own 'fake jobs' scandal


Fillon’s wife accused of falsifying documents


Best news so far. It would be wonderful if progressive voters didn't have to vote for that fake "progressive" Macron to block the relooked fascist. 


I was looking for an English version of this article by John R. MacArthur, of Harper's Magazine, but have found none. Perhaps he wrote it in French? (he is fluent in French).


So is this new poll more Russian fake news?  After all if they cause the vote to split exactly the right way then their preferred candidate can win. The people of France are so fucked now that the evil Russians have taken over their electoral process. When will NATO nuke them and end this outrage?

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Based on policy, it would seem that Hamon should be considering dropping out and supporting Mélenchon. Then one actual left candidate would most likely be in the run off.


And MacArthur did write that piece in French; he writes a column for Le Devoir. His mother was French; he is bilingual (at least). 

Yes, Mélenchon is well ahead of Hamon. I do wish people wouldn't be cowed into voting for Macron... 


Michael Moriarity wrote:

Based on policy, it would seem that Hamon should be considering dropping out and supporting Mélenchon. Then one actual left candidate would most likely be in the run off.

It's possible after this election that portion of the Socialist Party that stuck with a Hamon will join forces with the Left Party, while the portion that went to Macron joins forces with En Marche.