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URGENT ALERT: Residency denied for Moroccan wearing hijab

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A Moroccan living in France legally for eight years has had her application for long term residency denied, because she wears the hijab.

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Islamic Human Rights Commission
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28 November 2005

URGENT ALERT: Residency denied for Moroccan wearing hijab

A Moroccan living in France legally for eight years has had her application for long term residency denied, because she wears the hijab. Chetouani El Khamsa, a mother of four was told by a regional government official that the hijab was the sign of Islamic fundamentalism. Also El Khamsa does not wear the hijab in official photos, which is not allowed in France.

For further information, see
http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/B42DA9DB-19EA-4993-9624-97996A55C6B3.htm


Suggested Action


1. Contact the Foreign Office in your country and request that they raise the case of Chetouani El Khamsa with their French counterparts. Campaigners in the UK can contact:

Rt. Hon. Jack Straw MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London
SW1A 2AH

Fax: +44 20 7839 2417
Email private.office@fco.gov.uk


2. Write to the commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Alvaro Gil-Robles expressing your concern over Mrs El Khamsa's treatment.

Alvaro Gil-Robles
Avenue de l'Europe
67075 Strasbourg Cedex

Fax +33 (0)3 88 41 27 45
Email commissioner.humanrights@coe.int

Sample letters for both can be found below.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Your Name]
[Your Address]



[Date]


Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London
SW1A 2AH


Dear Rt. Hon. Jack Straw,


RE: Refusal to grant French resident Chetouani El Khamsa long term residency


I am writing out of deep concern about treatment of mother of four, Chetouani El Khamsa. Mrs El Khamsa has been living in France for the last eight years. She has applied for the right to reside for a further 10 years, as oppose to reapplying every year.

The reply by the regional government official states that \"entirely covering your neck and the roots of your hair, comparable to a hijab, sign of belonging to a fundamentalist Islam\". Clearly this is a conclusion tainted by prejudice.

The effect of this policy clearly seeks to extend the ban on ostentatious religious symbols in public places to completely excluding Muslim women across French society.

These measures along with the ban of the hijab in public places raise many concerns about so-called integration of minorities into French society and social cohesion, particularly in light of the recent riots and unrest by some of the disaffected immigrant population. How can there possibly be an integrated or harmonious society when women are denied their right to choose their attire. This will have the effect of forcing whole communities of women to its margins.

I strongly urge you to raise these concerns with the relevant French authorities and make strong representations one behalf of Mrs El Khamsa's requesting the end of such discriminatory behavior.

I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience


Yours Sincerely,


___________________

[Your Name]

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Your Name]
[Your Address]



[Date]


Alvaro Gil-Robles
Avenue de l'Europe
67075 Strasbourg Cedex


Dear Alvaro Gil-Robles,

RE: Refusal to grant French resident Chetouani El Khamsa long term residency

I am writing out of deep concern about treatment of mother of four, Chetouani El Khamsa. Mrs El Khamsa has been living in France for the last eight years. She has applied for the right to reside for a further 10 years, as oppose to reapplying every year.

The reply by the regional government official states that \"entirely covering your neck and the roots of your hair, comparable to a hijab, sign of belonging to a fundamentalist Islam\". Clearly this is a conclusion tainted by prejudice.

The effect of this policy clearly seeks to extend the ban on ostentatious religious symbols in public places to completely excluding Muslim across French society.

These measures along with the ban of the hijab in public places raise many concerns about so-called integration of minorities into French society and social cohesion, particularly in light of the recent riots and unrest by some of the disaffected immigrant population. How can there possibly be an integrated or harmonious society when women are denied their right to choose their attire. This will have the effect of forcing whole communities of women to its margins.

I strongly urge you to raise these concerns with the relevant French authorities and make strong representations one behalf of Mrs El Khamsa's requesting the end of such discriminatory behavior.

I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience



Yours Sincerely,


___________________

[Your Name]

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