French media is reporting that a group of Muslim activists, including leaders of the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organizations (FEMYSO), has pushed a viral social media campaign protesting a proposal by the French senate to ban minors from wearing the hijab in public spaces. According to the Le Parisien article:
April 18, 2021 Since the Senate has voted in favor of a ban on the wearing of the veil for accompanying mothers on school trips, many Muslim women living in France have been trying to make their voices heard with the hashtag #PasToucheAMonHijab, often accompanied by a personal text and a photo with their motto written in the palm of their hand. [Translated from French using Google.]
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The article reports the hashtag #HandsOffMyHijab was originally launched by American activists concerned about the freedoms of their French co-religionists and identifies one of the French version’s early backers as Hiba Latreche, Vice-President of the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organizations (FEMYSO). Latreche recently took to French and Qatari TV to promote the campaign, which was reported to have gained over 1.9 million views on the video platform TikTok and has seen support by US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and other Muslim Brotherhood groups such as the Muslim Association of Britain. A GIOR investigation has established that Hiba Latreche is likely the daughter of French Muslim politician Mohammed Ennacer Latreche, who has a long history of making anti-Semitic statements and who in 2014 had his assets frozen by the French government after defending acts of jihadist terrorism in Syria.
In 2010, France was the first Western country to ban religious veiling in public, leading to an intense debate on headscarves and religious coverings. The latest proposals by the French senate come as the country attempts to introduce a so-called “anti-separatism” law aimed at bolstering the country’s secular values. In October 2020, the GIOR reported that the French President had held a speech announcing a tougher stance on groups accused of radicalism and a new French Charter of Republican Values that forbids foreign interference in Muslim groups.
FEMYSO is the youth/student arm of the European Global Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational Islamist influence operation covered by the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR). Recent GIOR reporting on FEMYSO has also included:
- In October 2020, the GIOR reported that FEMYSO’s President participated in a virtual meeting attended by many key organizations of the Global Muslim Brotherhood.
- In October 2020, the GIOR reported on FEMYSO’s ties to the banned Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF), which was identified as an Islamist influence operation.
- In November 2020, the GIOR reported that FEMYSO hosted an anti-Islamophobia event with several top EU officials.
- In January 2021, the GIOR reported that FEMYSO had issued a statement praising a decision to allow religious clothing in Higher Education in Belgium’s Wallonia-Brussels region.