Recent undercover footage shows two French women’s rights activists entering a cafe in the Paris suburb of Sevran. Upon entering the cafe, the two women were shocked as they were met with hostility from the notably all-male customers.
One of the male customers told the women, “It’s best to wait outside. There are men in here … In this cafe, there is no diversity.” Another customer explained, “In this cafe, there is no mixing. We are in Sevran, not Paris. Here there is a different mentality. It is like back home.”
Women in suburbs all over France are having similar experiences. After speaking to several women in a suburb of Lyon, journalist Caroline Sinz discovered that these women who now were hiding from the public used to be the ones out protesting the status quo.
“They are afraid, they have already spoken out in many cities, and were insulted and assaulted…So now to avoid threats, and being put under pressure, they censor themselves and keep quiet,” she reported.
Women in France protested these all-male cafes and areas where women are reportedly discouraged from wearing short skirts or walking alone in the evening. Groups like the prominent La Brigade des Mères (The Mother’s Brigade), which works to save children from crime and radicalization, are responsible for these organized efforts.
The attitude of some of these women is that while this way of living may be acceptable in countries like Saudi Arabia, it is not acceptable in liberal democracies like France.
While the French government denies that this growing hostility towards women has anything to do with the religion, it is undeniable that this is happening in neighborhoods that are becoming Islamized.
According to journalist and political analyst, Judith Bergman, the Islamization of these neighborhoods is due to massive investments — some reported as much as $22 billion — pouring in from Qatar. The money is mainly used to fund mosques and has been pouring for the past five years.
With the money comes the influence of of Wahhabism/Salafism, a radical form of Sunni Islam that is also the state religion in Saudi Arabia.
The noticeable disappearance of women in the cafes and other public places is a symptom of the spreading of Salafism in French neighborhoods as well as a sign that sharia law is taking hold.
In countries where sharia is the law, like Saudi Arabia, women cannot leave their homes without the permission of their husbands – something that should ring as a warning to those in France.
Codi Robertson is a contributing editor to clarionproject.org