Editor’s Update: The two young women who beaten their cousin until she was unconscious recently appeared in court. They each received a two-month suspended sentence and were ordered to pay a 3oo euro ($320) fine.
“Dad, Mom I’m sorry to tell you this, but I have to leave home so as not to hurt you, because I know you will never accept the situation.”
These words were written last January by a 22-year old Moroccan girl living with her family in Reims in eastern France. She had been in a relationship for the past three years with a young Catholic man of Portuguese origin.
“I knew they wouldn’t agree,” she told a reporter from the Parisien newspaper. “My mother told me to break off the relationship when she found out. But I never thought they would take it this far.”
On October 19, she was in the Reims criminal court confronting two of her female cousins who had beaten her unconscious. After she left home, the entire family set about tracking her down. When they located her, they engaged in a two-week campaign of harrassment, threats, insults and damage to the couple’s mailbox and her boyfriend’s car.
She finally agreed to meet with her cousins on January 25. When she refused to return home, the young women, aged 21 and 25 pulled her hair, punched and kicked her until she was unconscious.
The young girl filed a complaint for assault, but was forced to flee Reims out of fear of reprisals. “I lost my home, my job and could no longer see my boyfriend. Overnight my family ostracized me. My sisters won’t speak to me. Nobody called me on my birthday in September. I cried about that for a week.”
Despite the trauma she has no regrets. “I have the right to decide for myself, no matter what tradition dictates.”
Aside from the terrorist attacks, this is the reality of Islam in France today. Not just in France, but in the rest of Europe in many Muslim communities. The oppression of women in Muslim countries, including being stoned to death and murdered by their families for not adhering to barbaric traditions, has been amply reported in the media.
Claims have been made that young Muslim women voluntarily choose to cover themselves up and adhere to tradition out of religious devotion, but it is evident that, in many cases, this is so because of the intense pressure put on them by family members.
Making one’s body attractive to members of the opposite sex is fundamental to all cultures, from the primitive tribes of sub-Saharan Africa to the catwalks of Paris and New York. The Islamic injunction to modesty and masking of the face and body is not only incompatible with modern culture but is contrary to human nature.
The story of this young Moroccan girl speaks volumes about the failure of multiculturalism and the lack of integration with the populations of host countries, including marrying into them. Preventing young people from entering relationships with their peers of other religions and nationalities is the most extreme form of racism, bigotry and intolerance.
Leslie Shaw is an Associate Professor at the Paris campus of ESCP Europe Business School and President of FIRM (Forum on Islamic Radicalism and Management).