Promoting Hijab in Europe — at Taxpayers’ Expense - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Promoting Hijab in Europe — at Taxpayers’ Expense

Though the European Union and the Council of Europe are two distinct organizations — the former, with 27 members, a political and economic union and the latter, with 47 members, a human-rights organization — it’s easy to understand why they’re often confused.

Both have parliaments located in Strasbourg. Both have courts — the European Court of Justice (EU) and the European Court of Human Rights (CoE). Both consist of several major constituent institutions (including the EU’s confusingly named European Council) plus a dizzying array of committees, councils, directorates, centers, and the like, which often have overlapping responsibilities and hence frequently work together. Both use the European anthem and flag (both of which, although popularly identified with the EU, originated with the CoE).

And both have the power to force laws, judicial rulings, and a variety of projects and initiatives upon their member states. In doing so, both exhibit a consistent determination to impose leftist ideology upon the people of Europe at their own expense.

For example, both have taken aggressive action to curb politically incorrect speech in the name of countering “hate speech.” And both have been particularly vigilant in attempt to silence criticism of Islam. In 2015, the European Commission, one of the major EU bodies, named a “Coordinator on Combating Anti-Muslim Hatred.” More recently, the CoE launched an ambitious campaign to normalize hijab.

No, not just normalize. Eulogize. Exalt. Extol.

One outcome of this effort was the release via Twitter, a couple of weeks ago, of several posters — each bearing the imprimatur of both the CoE and the EU — whose intention was to make public attitudes toward Muslim head coverings more positive.

One of the posters featured a photograph of a pretty young woman smiling at the camera, her image divided vertically in two. In one half, she was covered; in the other, not. Beauty is in diversity as freedom is in hijab, read the copy. How boring would the world look if everyone would look the same? Celebrate diversity & respect hijab.

In the dystopian world depicted by George Orwell in 1984, the slogan of the totalitarian government of Oceania is “War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Ignorance Is Strength.” Now we have “freedom is in hijab.”

Ever since 9/11, as Islamic terrorism has rocked major Western cities — and armies of Muslim immigrants have poured into those same cities — Western authorities have worked overtime to spend the deplorable natives’ tax money on efforts to keep them from learning anything useful about Islam. As it happens, one of the key facts about Islam is that it relegates women, in a great many ways, to second-class status. They’re compelled to live every moment of their lives in submission to men. And the chief purpose of the hijab is to symbolize this submission.

No, it’s not just about personal modesty. It’s about maintaining the honor of your family by making a public display of your humble submission. Reject the hijab and you risk being the victim of an honor killing.

At the beginning of her 2003 pamphlet Bas les voiles! (Lower the Veil), the Iranian-born Chahdortt Djavann, now a French citizen, writes: “I wore the veil for ten years. It was the veil or death. I know what I’m speaking about.” Numerous ex-Muslims have testified in similar terms. But today, 18 years after Djavann’s pamphlet, the CoE — instead of making use of the knowledge of people like her to promote human rights for Muslims in Europe — has collaborated with Femyso, a “forum of Muslim youth organisations across Europe” (funded, incidentally, both by the CoE’s European Youth Foundation and by the EU’s Erasmus+ Programme), to produce this glossy, grotesquely deceptive pro-hijab propaganda.

Other posters in the campaign center on close-up photos of beaming young women in hijab, along with the slogan “My headscarf my choice” or “Bring joy and accept hijabs.” Choice! Acceptance! Joy! The Muslim Brotherhood couldn’t have done a more splendid job of whitewashing. Finally, there’s a drawing of a girl in typical Western garb surrounded by an array of optional garments. Depicted paper-doll style (i.e., with little tabs around their edges) these items include shorts, a t-shirt, a heavy coat — and a hijab. This time the slogan is: “Who should decide? Let me choose.” And beneath it, there’s this: “Who defines liberation for me? Wearing a hijab is my choice and my human right. Let me choose!”

That’s the profoundly fraudulent premise throughout this campaign: that hijab, for most Muslim females, is a choice. To push this horrible lie is to deep-six the stories of innumerable women and girls who’ve been butchered by their families for bravely refusing to don the hijab. For a self-styled human-rights organization to equate that garb with human rights, rather than to recognize it as symbolizing the ultimate emblem of the brutal opposite of human rights, is appalling.

The good news here is that the CoE’s pro-hijab campaign has been abruptly pulled and the tweets deleted (although the posters can still be seen on Facebook). The turnaround occurred after the French government expressed outrage at the equation of hijab with freedom. The campaign’s obscene premise, proclaimed Youth Minister Sarah El Haïry, the secular daughter of Muslim immigrants from Morocco, “jarred with the secular values of France.”

French politicians from across the political spectrum agreed. “I wish the people behind this unfortunate campaign,” said presidential candidate Michel Barnier, “had been able to [consult] those women of Kabul who are fighting not to have to wear this veil.” Marine Le Pen, who’s also running to replace Emmanuel Macron, called the CoE campaign “scandalous and indecent as millions of women courageously fight against this enslavement, including in France.”

It’s not terribly surprising that it was French people who most vocally opposed the CoE’s campaign. To be sure, France has the largest Muslim population on the continent, and has appeased Islam, in a number of ways, a lot more than many other countries. At the same time, the French are devoted to their laïcité, or public secularism, which accounts for the country’s much maligned (but only partial) ban on face-covering veils. France also has more than its share not only of distinguished authors and intellectuals (such as Michel Houellebecq) who are vigorous critics of Islam.

Anyway, after the uproar led the CoE to yank its campaign, Hande Taner — who is both the president of Femyso, the Muslim youth group that helped put it together, and a member of the CoE’s own Advisory Council on Youth — went on the offensive, decrying the critics as (what else?) “racist and anti-Muslim.” She needn’t worry. Almost certainly, Islam will still take over France on schedule.

And don’t count the Council of Europe out, either. According to a CoE spokesperson, the campaign isn’t dead — just on hold “while we reflect on a better presentation of this project.” Translation: give us time to make the indoctrination a bit subtler.

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