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Rant over veiled Muslim on beach sparks furore
This is the image used by Morano to compare liberal France of the past and that of today. Photo: LeFigaro/Nadine Morano

Rant over veiled Muslim on beach sparks furore

Joshua Melvin · 18 Aug 2014, 18:00

Published: 18 Aug 2014 18:00 GMT+02:00

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A French politician was so upset after seeing a Muslim woman sitting on a French beach fully clothed and in a headscarf that she decided to take a picture and write a provocative opinion piece on Facebook.

In her rant former minister Nadine Morano, from the UMP party, said Muslims should go elsewhere if they don’t want to integrate.

The former French deputy used a picture of former sex icon Brigitte Bardot alongside that of the veiled woman on the beach to make her point that France has a proud history of women being free to dress how they wish.

And since she pressed publish, a lot of other people have become upset too, with over 900 comments on the post by Monday. Many of them condemn, mock and even insult the European Parliament Deputy.

However, dozens of the comments support Morano’s arguments. The MEP said that: “When one chooses to come to secular, France... one must respect our culture and the freedom of women. If not, go elsewhere!”

Morano goes on to write, “I ask the Muslims who have chosen to live in France and to integrate, to the French Muslims who we respect, to help me defend a simple reality: France is not a religious state.”

Morano’s outrage was inspired by a scene she says she witnessed on an unnamed beach recently of a headscarf-wearing woman left to sit by the shore while her male companion frolicked in the water.

“The man got into a bathing suit showing off his well-sculpted body, while the woman sat completely dressed, obedient on the sand,” Morano wrote. “Happy to to be taking a dip, he waved at his sweet submissive.”

France shows no sign of tiring of the debate of the Muslim veil, with the story making the top of French news sites on Monday.  Her Facebook made the rounds of the French press on Monday with right-leaning Le Figaro reporting she was “exasperated by a headscarf-wearing woman on a beach” and while RTL radio wrote Morano found the veiled woman to be an “infringement” of French culture.

Many commentors on Morano’s Facebook page took particular umbrage to her perspective on the scene.

“Ms. Morano would do better to worry about the tens of thousands of women raped and the 20,000 sexual assaults in France (that’s only the number reported) rather than talking about the submission of a woman she does not even know and who might have made this choice herself,” wrote Fouzia Rakza Bouzaoui.

Said Ezzouhri added: “She is proud to be that way. It’s her choice. She didn’t ask to be rescued by you."

The president of France’s National Observatory against Islamophobia was also quick to react. Abdallah Zekri reminded Morano that it is is only forbidden in France to wear the full face veil.

“How is wearing a veil on a beach not respecting the laws of the Republic? He asked. “It’s always the same with the UMP. It would be better she concentrated on what happens in her party, rather than stigmatizing women who wear the veil.”

But there were plenty of supporters glad to back up Morano’s point of view.

“No veil in France. That’s what North Africa is for!!!” commented Louis-Marie Gautier.

While commenter Vanina Frugier said: “The beach is no place for the veil and even less so on our territory.”

Muslim headwear has long been a hot topic in France. The country banned full-face veils in public 2010 and headscarves have been outlawed from state schools since 2004.

Story continues below…

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.

But they laws were also criticized as racist and an attack on Muslims.

Joshua Melvin (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

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