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Pregnant Muslim woman attacked in France

Oliver Gee · 27 Mar 2015, 10:30

Published: 27 Mar 2015 10:30 GMT+01:00

The 29-year-old woman, who was wearing a hijab, or Muslim headscarf, was hospitalized on Tuesday after being attacked on a street in Toulouse, southern France. 
 
According to reports the heavily pregnant woman who is due to give birth in mid-April was approached by two men after she had dropped off her children at at school.
 
One of the men is understood to have hit her several times, thrown her to the ground, and one point pulled a knife out.
 
The woman's husband, 33, has labelled the attack as Islamophobic, telling French newspaper La Depeche that one of the men grabbed his wife's hair, pulled at her veil while yelling 'none of that here' [pas de ça chez nous].
 
It is understood the attacker's friend stopped the attack, before the pair yelled racist abuse, reportedly threatened to kill the woman, and then fled the scene.
 
The woman is recovering, and her unborn baby is believed to be in good health. 
 
The victim's husband said that even though his wife was dressed in tracksuit pants and a jacket, it was the headscarf "that the man didn't agree with", adding that both he and his wife were "French and Muslim".
 
He added that his wife hasn't stopped crying since the attack.
 
Christophe Borgel, the local MP of Haute-Garonne, was outraged after hearing of the attack and it was "without a doubt" motivated by racism and anti-Muslim sentiment.
 
"I was shocked to learn of this attack. This French woman of Muslim faith was attacked because she was wearing the traditional headscarf," said Borgel in a statement sent to The Local.
 
"France does not tolerate any kind of racist attack, France will not tolerate any kind of aggression based on the religion of one of its citizens," he said.
 
"I condemn this act of extreme cowardice and inhumanity in the strongest terms."
 
France saw a similar incident in June, 2013, when a pregnant Muslim woman was attacked in the suburbs of Paris by two ‘skinheads’, allegedly for wearing an Islamic face veil. She later suffered a miscarriage, however it wasn't clear whether the loss of her baby was linked to the attack.
Story continues below…
 
Muslim headwear has long been a divisive issue in France. The country banned full-face veils in public 2010 and headscarves have been outlawed from state schools since 2004.
 
The rules were billed as an effort to enforce France’s idea that the public sphere should be free from religion as the country grapples with the question of how to best integrate its 5 million Muslims -  the largest population in Europe.
 
French authorities have been concerned by a rise in Islamophobia since the three jihadists carried out terror attacks on the streets of Paris in January.
 
In the two weeks following the shootings there were 128 anti-Muslim incidents registered - which is almost the same number as in the whole of 2014. 
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