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'Sarkozy using burqa ban to gain votes'
Tue, 26 Apr 2011 16:53:09 GMT
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Burqa ban in France
French President Nicolas Sarkozy does not care about the minority of Muslim women in France affected by the Burqa ban, and is only seeking his re-election by gaining support from the National Front, a journalist says.

Press TV's Rattansi and Ridley held an interview with French-Algerian Filmmaker and Journalist Naima Bouteldja to further discuss the burqa ban in France:

Press TV:What are you going to highlight about the burqa ban in France?

Naima Bouteldja: We shot a couple of videos in August 2010, when the rule had been voted in the National Assembly, but not in the Senate, just to basically highlight the absurdity of the debates.

Press TV:I've been looking at some of the feedback to these two particular films that you've made and there has been a very hostile reaction from sections of the Muslim community, saying how can you show women dancing? This is haram. How can you show this? It makes fun of Muslims. Was that the intention?

Naima Bouteldja: Of course not. The intention was to provoke reaction amongst mainly non-Muslims, and I understand the Muslims may find this offensive. I believe that God has a great sense of humor, and I think we need to use that. I think we need to inspire ourselves when there's nothing much to do with the absurdity and hatred that our enemy is launching.

Press TV: I think the ban has shocked people all around the world. What next for people in France? Are they going to veto it, or is that the way it is going to be in France?

Naima Bouteldja: No, on the contrary I think if anything, that more and more politicians agreeing on more laws and more bans on the veil. At the moment the hijab is banned at schools and now the full veil is banned everywhere. But that calls for the hijab to also be banned in public places, so people like me will not be able to go to places like the doctor's, or the post office.

Press TV: So why do French politicians in the majority, favor this kind of ban if President Sarkozy is talking about freedom in nations like Tunisia and Egypt?

Naima Bouteldja: I think there's a consensus in France among all political formations and this consensus is basically very against progressive values. And I think there's an issue in France, what we call cultural racism and is prominent in all political formations.

Press TV: I'm glad you mentioned that, because isn't it feeding the far-right. In London just a few days ago, there was a female protest outside the French embassy over the ban and it attracted thugs from this far-right wing group called the EDL, who went there, intending to cause trouble.

Naima Bouteldja: I completely agree with that as well. I think Sarkozy probably thinks he is going to get back the vote of some of the National Front that he's been losing. And I think he doesn't care at all about the burqa. I mean he's concerning a very tiny minority of women in France. No one has been asking them what they think, not even progressive organizations, and he's just basically trying to get re-elected.

Press TV: The British Prime Minister also is courting far-right opinions. How do you see things in Britain?

Naima Bouteldja: I still think it is not as bad as it is in France. Of course there are anti-Muslim feelings across the Western world. But I think the manifestation of it is much more obvious in France.

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