NICE, France––French police forced a Muslim woman to remove her traditional Muslim garment while she attempted to enjoy the beach on August 24th.
Photographs of the incident went viral online, sparking uproar.
These images show at least four cops––armed with pepper spray, batons and guns––confronting and standing over the woman––who has been identified as Siam––who was wearing a tunic, leggings and a head scarf, and relaxing on the shore at the town’s Promenade des Anglais.
Siam was forced to remove a blue long-sleeved garment. She was also given an on-the-spot fine and ordered to leave the beach.
This State attack was reportedly sanctioned by white beach-goers as they cheered and shouted at the woman “go home.” We are clear that the white population, i.e. the colonizers, functions as an extension of the State in policing colonized peoples.
This incident is one of the latest incidents of State-led attack on Muslims and has sparked worldwide controversy. Much of the upset which has been sparked, however, comes from the white feminist camp and incorrectly identifies this incident as an attack on women’s rights and a result of male sexism and patriarchy.
It must be clearly outlined that this and every State attack on a Muslim is due to colonialism and the white power structure. The State is able to inflict their will on Siam and other Muslims because they have the power to do so.
This is not an effect of sexism and is not an issue being faced by white women––they were able to lounge freely on the beach in their bikinis and even sanctioned the actions of the police.
This is a firm attack on Muslims––Muslim women in particular––and is an attempt to control their will and self-determination.
French ban on Muslim garments
The French government introduced a ban on burkinis––a swimwear of choice for some Muslim women which covers the head, torso, arms and legs––following the Nice lorry attack which killed 85 people on July 14th.
We are clear that the lorry attack in Nice was an effect of white colonial oppression––colonized people resisted the imperialist and colonial France which has stolen their land, people and resources.
A more fitting solution to this act of resistance would be for the French government to cease their imperialist attacks on colonized people and exit their lands. Instead, France decided to attempt to tighten their grip of oppression.
French prime minister Manuel Valls has ridiculously stated that he backs local government bans on burkinis because the swimwear is based on the “enslavement of women.”
Valls, reluctant to admit the underlying reason for his support––which is his alignment with imperialist white power––offered up a flimsy excuse on the pretense of giving a damn about the well-being of colonized women.
Valls fails to point out that the French government already enforces oppressive laws which ban Muslim women and girls from wearing face-covering veils in public and headscarves in schools. Such laws maintain the “enslavement” of colonized women which he is supposedly against.
The government’s excuse for enacting these laws is “because they are religious symbols that are deemed to breach French secular principles.”
We reject this, and offer up a more correct summation that again points to the white power structure––the ability of representatives of white power to enforce their will on colonized peoples.
ANWO stands with Muslim women
The African National Women’s Organization (ANWO) stands in solidarity with Siam and other Muslim women in France and all around the world who are subjected to the humiliating and oppressive laws and policies.
We recognize that we African women share a similar struggle as the State repeatedly oppresses African women by placing an attack on our African culture, cultural wear and bodies.
We reject the French government and their oppressive and illegitimate attacks on our Muslim sisters and demand that all such attacks be overturned along with the white power imperialism.
It is the right of all colonized women to dress however we please without being policed and humiliated by the State.
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