“Should the burka be banned from French society? It’s a contentious issue, and in some cases a dangerous one, too, as Hassen Chalghoumi discovered this week.
Chalghoumi, at 36 one of the younger and certainly one of the most liberal imams in France, told Le Parisien last week that he supported ‘a legal ban of the burka, which has no place in France, a country where women have been voting since 1945’.
The imam, whose mosque is in Drancy, a north-eastern suburb of Paris, also criticised those Muslims who advocated the wearing of the burka, saying they ‘belong to a tiny minority tradition reflecting an ideology that undermines the Muslim religion. The burka is a prison for women, a tool of sexist domination and Islamist indoctrination.’
The Tunisian-born Chalghoumi, who is a naturalised French citizen and proud of it, told the paper: ‘Having French nationality means wanting to take part in society, at school, at work. But with a bit of cloth over their faces, what can these women share with us? If they want to wear the veil, they can go to a country where it’s the tradition, like Saudi Arabia.’
Chalghoumi’s comments were designed to provoke discussion among the Muslim community in France, but a small minority of radicals considered his pronouncements so insulting that on Monday evening they stormed Chalghoumi’s mosque and threatened to kill him….”