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6 Dismantling the Defensive Wall of the Colonized: Banning the Islamic Veil (Hijab) in French Schools

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Chapter Summary

France's presence and involvement in colonial and post-colonial Algeria led to polarization and radicalization of Algerians both in their home country and in France. Urban riots during the first decade of the new Millennium and the hijab controversy have led some to question the practicality of Republican ideals, yet other alternative models such as the Anglo-Saxon/American doctrine of multiculturalism have not gained official support in France. There is a general consensus that in pre-Islamic empires in what is now known as the "Middle East", the urban male elite veiled and secluded women (wives, relatives and concubines) in the private sphere (palaces and residential compounds). The French government's handling of the hijab controversy and eventual banning of the headscarf in French schools is a clear example of using Muslim immigrant women's bodies as a cultural and ideological battleground to subject the Muslim immigrant population to total submission to France's post-colonial interests.

Keywords: French government; French schools; hijab; Middle East; Muslim immigrant women



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