Monday, April 18, 2011

What is behind the ban on the niqab in France?

On the next Your Call, we’ll discuss France's official ban on the niqab--the part of a burqa that covers a woman's face except for her eyes. Out of five million Muslims in France, less than 2,000 women actually wear it. So why has the ban created such a heated debate? What’s behind this law? Join us at 10 or send an email to And what are the larger issues at stake for France and other Western liberal societies? It’s Your Call with Hana Baba and you.

Zahra Billoo, executive director for the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)

Hilal Elver, professor of comparative law, international human rights, and environmental law and co-Director of Global Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara.

Marnia Lazreg is professor of sociology at Hunter College in New York. Originally from Algeria, she has lectured extensively at home and around the world on development, gender, and the geopolitics of Islam. She is author of Torture and the Twilight of Empire: From Algiers to Baghdad. In addition to gender and Islam, she researches French colonial history and empire studies; torture and identity; and postmodernist theory. She joins us by phone from New York.

Click to Listen: What is behind the ban on the niqab in France?