PRESS RELEASE: France – Niqab ban another step towards state fascism


Whilst it is assumed that less than 2000 women in the country don the face covering, the French government has deemed fit to target these women as ‘un-French’ and oppressed. In so doing they have yet again stigmatised Islamic and Muslim symbols, and by extension Muslim communities in France.

Arzu Merali, a spokesperson for IHRC said:

“Arguments that this law is set to empower these women is offensive and ludicrous. Such arguments simply promote racist stereotypes about Muslim women needing to be liberated and being incapable of making rational decisions about their own emancipation.”

IHRC has previously documented the violations of CEDAW (Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women) that the headscarf and religious symbols ban in French schools has incurred.[1]

For more information please contact the Press Office on (+44) 20 8904 4222, or (+44) 7958607475, or email:

Notes to Editors:

[1] For Liberty? The Impact of the French Ban on the Islamic Headscarf and other Religious Symbols in Schools.
Published by Islamic Human Rights Commission (London), 79 pages, ISBN 978-1-903718-33-9, UK£6, February 2009.

A summary of the findings and recommendations can be found in IHRC’s 2008 submission to the UN Human Rights Council can be found here.[ENDS]


The Islamic Human Rights Commission is an NGO in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

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