Islam Islamophobia Racism Women

“Age to consent to sex in France: 15 Age to consent to Hijab: 18” – A ludicrous statement is up for debate!

France’s attempt to make the lives of Muslims harder by bringing up so many restrictions targeting only Muslims is not new. Muslims are facing so many restrictions already, mainly in Europe, and it seems like even more is heading our way. This is why we shouldn’t stop raising our voices in all possible ways. 

These attempts affect the 5 million Muslims who live in France and those who wish to travel the country too. The idea to ban the hijab for girls under the age of 18 is staggering. We need to talk about it.

What Is a Hijab and Why Do Muslim Women Wear It?

A Hijab is a cloth worn by Muslim women to cover their heads as a religious practice of modesty. As the Quran states :

“And tell believing women that they should lower their glances, guard their private parts, and not display their charms beyond what [it is acceptable] to reveal; they should let their headscarves fall to cover their necklines and not reveal their charms except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their womenfolk, their slaves, such men as attending them who have no sexual desire, or children who are not yet aware of women’s nakedness; they should not stamp their feet so as to draw attention to any hidden charms. Believers, all of you, turn to God so that you may prosper.” ( Quran 24: 31)

At What Age Do Muslim Women Start Wearing the Hijab?

A girl should begin wearing the Hijab once she starts to get her first period. Usually, girls attain puberty at the minimum age of 11, so the ban on wearing the Hijab for girls under the age of 18 does pose a threat to Muslims. If a girl cannot follow what she is supposed to do at the given age and is forced not to, it is totally unfair.

If a woman wants to cover, let her cover. No one has a say on what a woman should and shouldn’t wear. Wearing a hijab is related to one’s faith, so the French government’s take on banning the hijab is ridiculous. 

How the World Reacted 

Women from all over the world started protesting and showing concern about the ban on their social media accounts.

The hashtag #handsoffmyhijab was used regarding this.

A tweet from a critic – MAJ @maryam_Jidayi  on the 5th of April 2021 –

“It seems freedom of choice is only acceptable when it is used to break away from decency and moral uprightness. You are free to parade the street in a bikini but not a hijab? There will be no real freedom unless we respect each other’s faith.”

As rightly pointed out in the above tweet, a woman who wears clothes that expose her body is free to do as she will, but a woman who wishes to cover herself is not allowed. This clearly is an attack on the religion Islam.

Manar (@RockThrowA) on the 4th of April 2021

Age to consent to sex in France: 15

Age to consent to hijab: 18

Let that sink in. It isn’t a law against the hijab. It’s a law against Islam.  #Handsoffmyhijab #FranceHijabBan

Sana Saeed tweeted on the 1st of April 2021

“French senate has voted that no girl under the age of 18 can wear hijab in public and that no Muslim mothers in hijab can be on school field trips. An absolutely trash & fascist state.”

Yosra @yosrahafezzz tweeted on the 3rd of April 2021

“The #hijabban in France is a violation of human rights. It is modern-day colonialism & THIS is oppression.”

AMANI @xoamani  tweeted on the 7th of April 2021

“On a trip to France 3 years ago, the border police forced me to remove my scarf to enter the country even though I wore a scarf in my passport photo. No government should regulate how a woman can dress, whether to keep it on or take it off. #handsoffmyhijab  #FranceHijabBan “

Many social media influencers rightly pointed everything happening in France. The government’s attempt to ban the hijab isn’t one thing. Instead, it’s a step for an ongoing process. Banning the hijab will then lead to banning halal food. Therefore, this is just another step to make life difficult for Muslims, mainly for Muslim women in France. When a government makes an effort to restrict things for a particular faith or individual, it’s evident that it’s more than a concern for safety. Or in simple words, it’s Islamophobia.

The only best thing for all Muslims to do during these trying times is to remain patient.

"And seek help through patience and prayer; and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah]" ( Quran 2: 45 )
"Except for those who are patient and do righteous deeds; those will have forgiveness and great reward."(Quran 11:11 )
"But for your Lord be patient." ( Quran 74: 7)

Apart from all these, Muslims in France face more issues like unemployment and racism.

The Muslims in France are often the subject of debate and hatred. Certain misconceptions about Islam are building so much hate towards Muslims, leading to a rise in Islamophobia. The increasing number of Muslims in Europe adding to the population has also become a concern for the world. Muslims are perceived as a threat in European Countries. They are looked down on for their faith. Despite how much the Muslims face from wherever they are in the world, they are only becoming more faithful every day.

As the Quran says: "Believers, be steadfast, and vie in steadfastness, stand firm in your faith, and hold Allah in fear that you may attain true success." ( Quran 3: 200 )

To my hijabi sisters in France, you got this! Allah is with you. Stay strong!

Shakira Shareef
Shakira is a freelance writer. She loves writing on lifestyle, freelancing, travel, self-help, business, and Islam. If not writing, she'd be cleaning or reading. Yes, zero human interaction –she's pretty boring!