The visibility of women and their freedoms in the French public sphere is envisaged in this article on the basis of laïcité and gender equality. Within the debate about the rights and limitations of Muslim women, French feminist ideology seems to be torn between two totally contradictory positions. Anti-veil and anti-burqa laws are on the one hand defended in the name of laïcité and the emancipation of women. On the other hand, the laws are severely criticized because they marginalize Muslim women from the majority of French society. The main aim of this research is to analyze anti-veil and anti-burqa laws in France by focusing on their historical and social foundations from a feminist perspective. Next, this study argues that the visibility of Muslim women in the French public space, which is banned in the name of republican and laic values, is actually valued by some feminist groups who cast an exclusionary and othering glance at the clothing of Muslim women, such as the headscarf or the burqa.
Journey into Europe: Islam, Immigration, and Identity is the last installment of a four-volume series written by Prof. Akbar Ahmed. The text is composed of three parts and nine chapters. It starts by outlining the historical presence of Islam in Europe and continues elaborating theoretical discussions about modernity and tribalism in respect to the (re)construction of European identity and the formation of nations from ancient times to the present.