Why did Mohamed Boufarkouch, a 37-year-old Moroccan, stab a 46-year-old mother and her daughters aged 8, 10 and 13 while they were having lunch on the terrace of their holiday apartment in the French Alps?
It may well be that his violent act was provoked by the way they were dressed. The sight of female flesh is apparently so intolerable for certain male adherents of Islam that they are unable to control their impulses and react by either sexually assaulting or attacking and even killing the female.
A recent case in point is the case of Qandeel Baloch, a 26-year-old Pakistani woman who was strangled by her brother because she posted provocative photos and videos on her social media accounts.
This phenomenon may explain why many Muslim women customarily cover their bodies from head to toe.
Capitulation to this inability to control male libido now seems to be gaining ground in France.
On July 18, Noëlle Harmand, director of the Trois Piliers children’s leisure center in the city of Reims in eastern France, sent a note to parents telling them that their daughters should wear shorts under their skirts so as not to provoke inappropriate behavior on the part of young boys.
“We request that your daughters wear shorts or trousers or wear a pair of shorts under their skirts because in the group of over 6 years this will enable your child to be more agile in sporting activities. You should also be aware that we have children between 10 and 12 who are likely to react inappropriately if the skirt of a young girl blows upwards. We just want to avoid situations that are complex to manage.”
One mother of a 4-year-old girl was so outraged by the note that she posted it on her Facebook profile and it went viral. She was contacted by a reporter from the Nouvel Observateur news magazine and made the following statement:
“When I read the note I was furious,” said the mother. “The responsibility for the inappropriate behavior was shifted onto the little girls who were wearing skirts. I know that it is not the job of the monitors to raise the children but they can reprimand a boy who bothers a girl because she is wearing a skirt. If there is inappropriate behavior, it is not the fault of our 4-year-old daughter and she should not have to change the way she dresses.”
A group of parents sent a letter of protest to Ms. Harmand who, when contacted by the reporter, provided a convoluted explanation that obfuscated the real problem.
Harmand explained that at the end of each day the monitors hold a “forum” with the children, the purpose of which is to “focus on the rules of communal living, such as respect.” This includes respect towards young girls.
“The monitors explained to the boys that they should not harass young girls because the wind blows their skirts up. It is useful to open up a debate with the children on the way they look at each other,” she explained.
This is typical politically correct sidestepping of the issue, which is the cultural clash between Western vestimentary codes and those of Islam. Underlying this superficial cultural clash are the far deeper ones of misogyny, control of male libido and so-called honor killings.
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).