PRESS RELEASE: UK Event – Human Rights and Muslim Women’s Groups to Protest French Head Scarf Ban

Islamic Human Rights Commission

8th January 2004

PRESS RELEASE: UK Event – Human Rights and Muslim Women’s Groups to Protest French Head Scarf Ban
Sunday 11th January 2004, French Embassy, 58 Knightsbridge Road, London, SW1X 7JT , 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) and the International Islamic Women’s Organisation (IIWO) are organising a demonstration outside the French Embassy in London, UK on Sunday 11th January to protest the ban on religious clothing in French schools and the increasing persecution of Muslim women in particular.

IHRC spokeswoman Romana Majid said:

“Not only are Muslim girls and women forced to choose between their right to religious freedom and their right to an education and work, they are currently being harassed and discriminated against by various sectors of French society and their rights to marriage and equal treatment violated.

“We have had report after report of institutionalised discrimination from immigration controls, passport agencies, to employers. The new stance of the government not only includes schools but no longer allows women the right to refuse examination by a male doctor. Currently Muslim women wearing scarves to their wedding ceremonies in Paris will be barred and their civil contract not performed. It seems that the French policy is simply to persecute Muslim women and force them to abandon Islam.

”The violent intensity of this persecution is terrifying. Put simply, France is the secular Taliban of Europe.”

Earlier this month a Muslim woman was denied service at a bank because she was wearing a scarf.

IHRC notes that France is not alone in taking this stance. Seven German states have already decided to ban Islamic scarves in schools. Cases from elsewhere in Europe are surfacing daily. IHRC’s ‘Hijab Project’ launched last summer will be reporting on the extent of discrimination faced by Muslim women across Europe.

For more information on the demonstration or the project, please contact (+44) 20 8904 4222 or 07958 522 196 or 07939 865 350, or

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Fax (+44) 20 8904 5183