Hate crimes in France affect Muslims around the world

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Islam is considered “a crisis” in the world, according to French President Emmanuel Macron. Following a series of attacks in France, the outcry of prejudice against Muslims has again increased.

Islam is considered the second most practiced religion in France, behind Christianity. Today in France, the Muslim population represents 8.8% of the total population.

Calling for a modernization of Islam, Macron wants to evolve the key practices of the Muslim religion in order to allow a more westernized version of Islam to exist in France. This policy aims to promote open and fair interaction in French society, as if this redefinition of Islam would somehow eliminate unrest in France.

The French government is seeking changes in the Muslim religion, both symbolic and significant. The hijab, a scarf that wraps around the head, is a garment worn by Muslim women. It symbolizes the principle of modesty, which includes behavior as well as dress for both men and women. The hijab is perhaps the most distinct form of clothing worn by Muslims.

The French president has already banned the wearing of the hijab in schools, workplaces and on the beach. He is now asking for the ban of this specific article of clothing, including headgear, in all areas of the country. Since the hijab was banned in 2010, Muslim women have suffered a significant obstacle in order to freely practice their religion.

As cases of COVID-19 have increased in France and around the world, 2020 has proved to be a struggle for effective national leadership in desperate times. In May, France began to come out of its COVID-19 lockdown and French authorities forced citizens to wear masks in public spaces. The mask policy shows a juxtaposition between these two laws, although the French government does not see the conflict.

The increased Islamophobia which is fueled by the French government and the media has encouraged hate crimes against Muslims. As a result, Arab countries and Muslims around the world are now boycotting many French products.

On September 1, the republication of the Prophet Muhammad cartoons sparked growing anger among Muslims as France defended the right to publish the cartoons. A horrific attack, carried out by a Muslim student shortly after the publication of the cartoons, is by no means encouraged in Islam. These acts of terror are prohibited in the Muslim religion and the French government chooses to demonize the entire Muslim population of its country on the basis of the actions of a few radicalized groups. This will not only wreak more havoc, but will cause another wave of rhetoric and violence against Muslims around the world, especially women, who are their faith’s most visible.

Saha Salahi is a second year UNLV student majoring in communications with a minor in public policy from Brookings. Salahi is also a student researcher at Brookings Mountain West and the Lincy Institute.

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