France 24’s The 51 Percent presented by Annette Young carried the shocking story that in some French cities women are no-longer allowed to visit cafes (see the video above). The video shows that women cannot walk freely or indeed just go for a coffee and is as the program puts it, down to cultural differences. In reality it is down to areas predominantly following stricter versions of Islam. Now, I have worked and socialised with enough Muslims (of both genders) to know that this is not the way that many would have it. Indeed as the video shows it is the Muslim women who are railing against the rather ignorant men that they come across – good on them!
The kind of segregation on show in this video is precisely the reason why far right groups in Europe are gaining ground. We have had UKIP, their allies the BNP and many senior British Conservatives who used these kind of examples to encourage Brexit, when in reality Islam and Brexit are two totally different issues. We have AFD in Germany which has capitalised on the attacks on the women in Cologne and the recent terror attacks. Both unacceptable in their own right. While in France, Le Pen makes a big issue of these kind of matters. Let’s be honest Le Pen should be making a big issue about this kind of segregation as it is totally unacceptable. However, as we have seen in the UK such dog whistle, single issue politics only leads to votes going to the far right such as UKIP/BNP who use such issues to mask their own true colours and policies. This is a double whammy as the Front Nationale was never exactly an advocate of women’s rights, meanwhile UKIP, BNP and many British Conservatives have never supported equal pay for women and indeed have even said that allowing women to work has undermined society. While I am fairly sure that Marine Le Pen is probably not going to do herself out of a job just because she is a woman, it really remains to be seen how many of the party old guard actually like having a woman in charge. Furthermore, it should be noted that the views of many stricter and extreme Muslims is not in reality that far off many extreme conservative Christian groups. Indeed the Church of England has battled for years over the issue of the ordination of women and the Catholic Church is somewhat more lamentable on this subject.
In summary all this means that the extremist Islamic groups are winning, they are essentially getting parties like UKIP, The BNP, right-wing British Conservatives and FN into leading electoral positions which in turn will mean less rights for women or a best no more advances. There is just one flaw in the extremists argument in that they will now face a greater chance of kicked out of their respective countries but at least they will have left their values behind!