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April 25, 2016 11:12 am

Bernard-Henri Lévy: ‘Hijab Day’ at Sciences Po

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A model displaying a fashionable hijab at "Moslema In Style Fashion Show." Photo: Wikipedia.

A model displaying a fashionable hijab at “Moslema In Style Fashion Show.” Photo: Wikipedia.

I realize that this is a minor event that has no more importance than we are willing, here and elsewhere, to give it. And yet I cannot quite get over the “Hijab Day” staged last Wednesday (April 20) by a group of students at the Institute of Political Sciences in Paris.

That things have reached this sorry pass at one of France’s best schools, one where future government officials are supposed to be trained and where what is left of the spirit of republican democracy should be preserved and cultivated, that its students should descend to such an absurd and obscene provocation, that by putting on display (and thus, whether intentionally or not) celebrating a symbol so deeply inconsistent with the founding principles of democracy—all this is nothing short of staggering.

It does not matter which way you look at the issue. Whether the veil is required or desired; a symbol of the law of one’s fathers, brothers, and bosses or the expression of a choice; a mark of the violence done to the one wearing it or of a submission recognized as such and willingly borne. In either case, it signifies the effacement of women, their defeat, their formal inequality. In both cases, and, come to think about it, in the second perhaps more than in the first—that is, in situations where the abasement is premeditated and self-aware more than when it is the product of alienation but dimly perceived—it is the visible face of an ideology and, in certain countries, of a political order being battled by women and men who reject the new form of fascism that is radical Islam.

After Hajib Day, what next? Sharia Day? Jihad parties? Must we look forward now to Stoning 101, complete with hands-on workshops that enable us to “open up the discussion,” to “better understand” the phenomenon, and to do away with the “stigmatization” attached to this fine form of punishment?

Bernard-Henri Lévy is one of France’s most famed philosophers, a journalist, and a bestselling writer. He is considered a founder of the New Philosophy movement and is a leading thinker on religious issues, genocide, and international affairs. His 2013 book, Les Aventures de la vérité—Peinture et philosophie: un récit, explores the historical interplay of philosophy and art. His new play, “Hotel Europe,” which premiered in Sarajevo on June 27, 2014, and in Paris on September 9, is a cry of alarm about the crisis facing the European project and the dream behind it.

This article was translated from the French by Steven B. Kennedy.

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  • Yaakov

    What about Jewish women who wear tichels, snoods, or other head coverings for the purpose of tzniut? Does that signify the effacement of women, their defeat, their formal inequality as well?

  • From my window in Oslo I see three women standing in the street, one with Hijab, the second with Hijab, and the third with Hijab, who many women are they? Three? Not three women, doing my writing of this text two women came, one with Hijab and the second women with Hijab, how many are tney? Fife? No, doing my writing of this few words fife women come, one with Hijab, the second with Hijab, the third with Hijab, the fourth with Hijab and fifth with Hijab, how many are they? Ten? No, doing my writing of this text three women with Hijab came, they looked as they didn’t know which direction to go, it took so long time for them to decide where to go, they didn’t know where to go, they sit down on the ground waiting for sun to touch the ground trough the clouds, i watched the clouds and back to the Hijab women’s two more Hijab women came and sits on the ground, the sun didn’t come and life went on into nothingness, the Hijab women’s never knew witch direction to move on.

  • This kind of event is not surprising me!The French painter Matisse was crazy after this kind of oriental Hijab women’s. It works! Louvre after all have a lot of paintings with Hijab ladies. Frensh culture.

  • dan ehrlich

    This only happens in hedonistic western nations with people, mainly youths seeking to address what they see as social injustice…logic and reality often has no part in this process, i.e., the BDS movement aimed at Israel, based on false premise,depending on ignorance over knowledge in pursuit of a cause for an entitled generation.