French woman faces fine for tearing niqab from tourist’s face

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 14 October 2010 17.36 BST

Prosecutors have called for a 63-year-old French woman to be given a two-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of €750 (£659) after she admitted tearing a full Islamic veil from the face of a tourist from the United Arab Emirates.

The woman, a retired English teacher identified only as Marlène Ruby, said she was “irritated” by the sight of two women shopping in Paris in their niqabs.

She said that, not realising the pair were foreigners, she initially pulled one of their veils while chastising them in French for covering their faces. Minutes later, upon noticing that the woman concerned had replaced her veil, she became further enraged.

“I tore her niqab off and I shouted. I wanted to create a bit of a scandal,” she told Le Parisien. Her anger, she said, sprang from witnessing the treatment of women in the Middle East, where she used to teach. “I think it is unacceptable for the niqab to be worn in the country of human rights. It’s a muzzle,” she said.

Although she admits removing the veil, Ruby denies allegations that she hit and bit the tourist, who claims to have been so distressed by the incident that she had not returned to France since. The victim’s lawyer said her client was on the receiving end of “an attack on religious freedom”.

In a Paris court, the prosecutor, Anne de Fontette, said the behaviour was not something that could be permitted in France. “Living together requires, quite simply, an acceptance of the other, of the way in which [the other] is dressed,” De Fontette said.

She said that although at the time of the attack, in February, the full Islamic veil was legal attire in France, the accused’s actions would be reprehensible even now – a month after the ban on wearing face-covering veils in public became law.

Critics of the ban, which threatens wearers of the niqab with a fine of €150 and a course in French citizenship, have warned it is an unnecessary step that affects a small minority of women but stirs up tensions.

A verdict is expected on 4 November.

**So my question is, is niqabs are banned in France…what are the Gulf tourists who do wear niqab going to do?  Stop going to France for vacation and shopping?  How will this impact the French economy…??

8 thoughts on “French woman faces fine for tearing niqab from tourist’s face

  1. Salam alikum , i dont know they the french just did put this new law throuh against niqab . It was a lot on youtube before the law got passed, but now i did search on how it is going after the change , how muslim women niqabis do go out now ? Did they take it off ? Do their continue wearing niqab?Do they now wear medical mask instead? I would really like to now what have changed for them but i cant find any information on this issue.

  2. This issue is really close to my heart as I wear niqab in the west and must endure the negatives from ignorant and intolerant people. May Allah give me strength and sabr, ameen.

    I say (Muslim) tourists should hit France where it hurts – in the hip pocket- and boycott French products and not travelling to France. I mean all French products – *including* Louis Vuitton et al!!

    • One thing I was thinking that a sister mentioned on a discussion board where this was also posted…is that like, its very hypocritical…they mention in the article everyone in France needs to be accepting of each other, yadda yadda…so it seems like for them its OK for wealthy Gulf tourists to come, spend oodles on designer duds…cuz their economy needs it…BUT for the local Muslim community who is probably less well off (compared to their Gulf counterparts) its NOT OK and instead they get forced into secularization and forced integration with no regard for their beliefs.

      ugh! Smells of wrong up and down.

  3. Assalamou aleikoum, it’s not easy for we muslims here in France, every day when i go outside people look at me as i am bad, some people tell me bad things, Allah help us inchaAllah, i really would like to go out from this country inchaALlah

    (sorry about my english)

    • En’shallah sis, cuz many of us western Muslims (Americans, canadians, etc) have had experiences flying through France and even many of us have had to deal with rudeness at the airports or during stopovers…its just NOT a Muslim friendly country at all…they are uber paranoid…its crazy. Atleast here in the US/Canada/UK/Australia we are free to dress and believe what we want…alhamdullah…maybe try to move here🙂

  4. Even in many countries where you are ‘free’ to dress the way you wish, this freedom is quite limited, and only on the paper. In Scotland, people shout at you on the streets and insult you publicly if you wear niqab, so even though it’s legally allowed to wear it, I don’t think anyone feels ‘free’ to do it. I know some sisters who stopped wearing their niqabs because they couldn’t go out alone (without a mahram) without feeling constantly threatened. Even for hijabis here, it’s still not easy and myself I get bad comments for wearing hijab+abaya at least once or twice a week. The only good think here in UK: generally there isn’t much institutional discrimination. You can get a job wearing abaya, hijaab, or any other sort of cultural/religious dress without any problems. Employers care not to be seen as discriminating to minorities. Which isn’t the case in France. Many people leave France because there they cannot find a proper job just because they have a beard, wear hijab, or just because they have a muslim name.

  5. I am going soon;) to France.

    I intend to wear niqab. Fine me. I don’t care. I intend to wear a birdal veil. It ISN’T illegal.

    May Allah help our sisters in France and give them strength.

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