All of them are facing stop signs of one kind or another in French society because they wear the head-covering veil or hijab. “I broke out in tears,” says one of them, recalling the day she was told she couldn’t accompany her small child on a school trip.
Tired of the polarizing effects of wearing the hijab after a 2004 ban and two more that followed, Muslim women in France are struggling to cope with a scarcity of social acceptance. Among the dozen women interviewed, some are thinking of leaving for good.
Since youth riots last week over a police identity-check of a woman wearing a niqab, France has resumed debate of a 2011 law banning the face veil. Critics of the ban say it is part of a pattern of Muslim stigmatization.