Spanish conservatives: No more sexist symbols!

The country's Popular Party wants to ban symbolic discrimination against women, including the hijab.


Tracy Clark-Flory
February 9, 2008 5:25AM (UTC)

A day after Turkey took a giant leap toward repealing its head-scarf ban in universities, there comes news that if Spain's conservative party comes to power in next month's general election it plans to enact a similar ban across all public schools. From the rainbow's array of anti-head-scarf rhetoric, the Popular Party has chosen the most, well, popular tack: the defense of women. "We feel that what makes sense is to establish in the framework of the law that use of symbols which might amount to discrimination or a demonstration of submission of women must be avoided," said Juan Costa, the party's coordinator.

In other words, the Popular Party's solution to the discrimination experienced by some hijab-wearing Muslim women is to discriminate against all Muslim women by eliminating their choice to wear the hijab. But, really, the party seems more concerned with addressing the non-Muslim interpretation of the symbol of the hijab than with Muslim women's individual experiences of it -- like, for starters, whether wearing the hijab is voluntary or forced upon them. (Also, good luck trying to eliminate all potential symbols of discrimination against women.)

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Interestingly enough, the party plans to allow certain schools with a largely Muslim student body to opt out of the ban. Which, again, raises an obvious question: Who are they really trying to protect?


Tracy Clark-Flory

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