In Lyon, BlaBlaCar driver refuses ride for veiled young woman

The newspaper Le Progres reported the case of Djema Ouada, who paid for a ride to Grau-du-Rois using BlaBlaCar. But after seeing the young women wearing a veil, the driver refused to give her a ride.

“For Djema Ouada, a young hairdresser, looking for work and living in Grigny, holiday traffic forced her to take the Solaize route, along the A7. The driver from Mégane, who should have helped her meet her mother at the seaside station of Grau-du-Roi, left her at the pick-up point.”

“He refused to shake my hand, saying ‘I don’t take the veil,’” reported Le Progres.

The 17 year-old, accompanied by an adult friend, had already spent the 42,4 euros after a text message exchange. Contacted, BlaBlaCar affirmed its commitment to service that “allows exchanges between persons from different areas and of different origins.” The site says it “sincerely regrets a reaction of this nature,” but also reminds its customers that the driver is free to choose his/her passengers.

French Muslim in Long Skirt returns to school

A Muslim student who was denied entry to her French school last month for wearinga full-length skirt has returned to classes in a similar outfit after her story sparked global outrage.


“I did nothing wrong, I’m respecting the law as I always take off my headscarf before I enter the school; so there is no need for me to change what I wear,” Sarah K told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday, May 12.


“I’ll continue to dress the way I please and receive my education.”


A few weeks ago, 15-year-old Sarah was barred from classes by a head teacher who insisted that her outfit was too “openly religious.”


The remarks were made even though the Muslim student used to take off her hijab before entering the school premises in the north-eastern town of Charleville-Mezieres every day.

The school’s decision was backed by French Minister of Education Najat Vallaud-Belkacem who claimed that the ban was based on the student’s “behavior”.


Belkacem’s claim was refuted by Sarah’s mother, Ourida, who said: “That’s not true. There is nothing wrong with my daughter’s behavior, and even the letter that we received [from the school] mentions clearly that Sarah was sent home because of the way she dressed.


“The decision of the school was based on discrimination; it was made on the basis that my daughter is a Muslim. From now on, I won’t attend any meeting without the presence of a lawyer, as they (school administration and ministry of education) keep changing facts.”


In 2004, France banned Muslims from wearing hijab, an obligatory code of dress, in public places and schools.

France also outlawed the wearing of face-veil in public in 2011.


Yet, the length of a school skirt and its color fit into the context of the law remains a mystery.


The school’s ban has been met with outrage by many people in France and abroad who deplored it as discriminatory. “It is nonsense. I don’t see how a simple skirt could be considered a religious symbol,” Ahmed Nadi, 46, a local dentist of Moroccan origin, said.

“Any girl from any religious background could have worn it, but since this girl is a Muslim, it is being declared as against secularism of the country. I consider myself a secular, my daughter does not wear a scarf, but this is about having the freedom to choose to dress the way you desire.”


A similar opinion was echoed by Mongi, a 38-year-old teacher, who was sitting next to Nadi.


“This is really alarming. Where are we going with this madness in France? Day-by-day Muslim rights here are being narrowed down; today the problem is a long skirt, tomorrow it can be shirts with sleeves, and (I wonder) what next?” Mongi said.


Another resident echoed a similar opinion. “The majority of the people here are against this decision. We can’t understand how a teenager can be deprived of her right to receive education just because she put on a long skirt,” he said.


“It is really illogical. I can’t find any other words to describe the situation.”

Moreover, a hashtag that addresses the issue, #JePorteMaJupeCommeJeVeux, translated into English as, “I wear my skirt as I please,” has been trending with hundreds of messages of support since its creation.


Freedom of religion in France is guaranteed by the constitutional rights set forth in the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. France does not recognize any official religion; instead it merely recognizes certain religious organizations, according to formal legal criteria that do not address religious doctrine. In return, religious organizations are to refrain from involvement in the State’s policy-making. France is home to a Muslim community of nearly six million, the largest in Europe. French Muslims have been complaining of restrictions on performing their religious practices.

France under pressure to clarify rules about wearing long skirts and Muslim robes to school

The French government is under growing pressure to make a clear ruling on whether schoolgirls can wear long skirts in state schools.


Around 150 Muslim girls have been sent home in the last 18 months for turning up in long skirts or robes which were judged by their head-teachers to break the 11-year-old law banning religious symbols in French classrooms.


In many other French schools, Muslim girls have been allowed to wear long skirts unchallenged.


The issue was brought to a head last month when a school in north-eastern France twice sent home a 15 year-old girl who was wearing a long skirt. The girl, named only as Sarah, returned to school yesterday after the Easter holidays wearing jeans.

Officially, there is no ban on long skirts in state schools. Some head teachers and school districts have decided, however, that certain kinds of long skirts or robes amount to an “ostentatious” religious badge or symbol.


A 2004 law, mostly aimed at Islamic headscarves, says that state schools in France must remain “secular”.  All symbols or forms of dress “which can be immediately recognised as religious in meaning” must be excluded.


The issue goes back several years but has become more acute by the jihadist attacks in Paris in January.


Some French politicians, including the former president Nicolas Sarkozy, have been campaigning for a more radical interpretation of France’s historic law separating church and state. Some Muslim pupils have been looking for ways to challenge the “secular” school dress rules, which they judge to be Islamophobic.


The question is how a head-teacher can make a distinction between a long skirt worn as a fashion statement and a long skirt worn for religious reasons. In some cases, teachers say, the distinction is obvious. Some teenage Muslim girls have taken to wearing long, traditional Muslim robes. Others wear long loose black skirts down to their ankles.

The education minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, herself a Muslim, says that a long skirt is fine unless there is  an element of provocation or   religious display  by the pupil. She has defended the decision of a college (middle school) in Charleville-Mézières in the French Ardennes to send home 15-year-old Sarah on two occasions.


Ms Vallaud-Belkacem says that the school judged that the girl had adopted a “proselytising” attitude – in other words she had started wearing the skirt as an “ostentatious” religious statement. Sarah herself says that she bought the skirt for €2 in a cut-price store and wore it only on hot days.


The Rheims school district says that Sarah and other Muslim girls in the school began wearing the long skirts as a protest after an “incident” in which an Islamic headscarf was worn in the school.


Phillippe Tournier, the head of the union which represents head teachers of state schools, called on the government yesterday to “stop shilly-shallying” and issue clear guidelines on long skirts. “Many school districts are ignoring this problem because they don’t know whether they would be supported [at national level] or not,” he said.

Florida girl attacked after wearing hijab to school

February 4, 2014


Teen says she has been bullied in school
HAINES CITY, Fla. —A Florida girl said she has been verbally and physically assaulted because she wears a hijab, or head scarf, to school.

Zahrah Habibulla, 14, said she didn’t have problems at school with other children until she started wearing her hijab on Dec. 14. The Polk County teen said she wears the hijab for religious reasons.

“I’ve been bullied in school,” she said. “I had verbal assaults, physical assaults.”

Each time the teen was attacked, she told her mother, who then called the principal of Ridge Community High School.

Zahrah’s parents told WESH 2 News in an exclusive interview that they want something done before their daughter is hurt.

“It breaks my heart. I don’t want to see that,” said Zameena Habibulla. “I’m hoping for a safer school for her. Every day she goes to school I’ve got fear.”

The Polk County School District released the following statement Monday:
“Since learning of these concerns, school officials have taken a proactive role in addressing any issues to ensure the safety and welfare of the student. The School Board remains committed to providing an educational environment that is safe, secure and free from harassment or bullying.”

A member of the American Muslim Youth Leadership Council has also met with the school’s principal to urge action from school officials.


Comic for tolerance

Febraury 2, 2014


Soufeina Hamed (24) is from Berlin, studying Intercultural Psychology at the University of Osnabrück. She decided to wear a headscarf. Having observed and experienced marginalization and prejudices against Muslim females, Soufeina begun to draw comics about daily life of Muslims and non-Muslims in German society. The comics confront stereotype patterns of prejudices with creativity and intelligent humor.



Guerilla street artist Princess Hijab “hijabizes” advertisements in Paris

A young Paris-based guerilla street artist who calls herself Princess Hijab has been “hijabizing” advertisements, spray-painting veils and body-length chadors onto the lightly dressed models. The mysterious artist, who remains anonymous, says she is fighting Jihad through art.

In the online gallery of her “hijabizing” of ad campaigns, lightly clad models in ads for Virgin Music and various clothing companies have been re-dressed by the Princess in veils and chadors, their eyes popping out of face-covering hijabs. They are striking as much as they are irreverent, and they have caused anger in both Muslim and secular circles.

Princess Hijab claims that her hijab campaigns are not plastered on the streets of Paris as an act of “art for art’s sake”, but instead represent a part of what she calls “art propositions for a more global idea.” In this global idea, Princess Hijab pursues what she calls her “noble cause”, or her “anti-advertising movement” in an attempt to fight today’s mainstream and sexist consumerism.

Her works will be on display in an exhibition at the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York between May 22 and August 29, 2009. The exhibition “The Seen and the Hidden: Dis_Covering the Veil” is going to show numerous pieces of art around the veil, including also Marjane Satrapi’s famous graphic novels and many other works of (Western) Muslim artists.

Princess Hijab’s websites:
Personal Website
MySpace Page

More information:
“The Seen and the Hidden: Dis_Covering the Veil”
May 22 to Aug 29, 2009
Austrian Cultural Forum, New York
Event Website