France: Interviews with woman who was refused citizenship

When Faiza Silmi applied for French citizenship, she worried that her French was not quite good enough or that her Moroccan upbringing would pose a problem.

"I would never have imagined that they would turn me down because of what I choose to wear," Ms. Silmi said, her hazel eyes looking out of the narrow slit in her niqab, an Islamic facial veil that is among three flowing layers of turquoise, blue and black that cover her body from head to toe.

But last month, France's highest administrative court upheld a decision to deny citizenship to Ms. Silmi, 32, on the ground that her "radical" practice of Islam was incompatible with French values like equality of the sexes.


In an interview at her home in a public housing complex southwest of Paris, the first she has given since her citizenship was denied, Ms. Silmi told of her shock and embarrassment when she found herself unexpectedly in the public eye. Since July 12, when Le Monde first reported the court decision, her story has been endlessly dissected on newspaper front pages and in late-night television talk shows.

"They say I am under my husband's command and that I am a recluse," Ms. Silmi said during an hourlong conversation in her apartment in La Verrière, a small town 30 minutes by train from Paris. At home, when no men are present, she lifts her facial veil and exposes a smiling, heart-shaped face.

"They say I wear the niqab because my husband told me so," she said. "I want to tell them: It is my choice. I take care of my children, and I leave the house when I please. I have my own car. I do the shopping on my own. Yes, I am a practicing Muslim, I am orthodox. But is that not my right?"

Ms. Silmi declined to have her photograph taken, saying that she and her husband were uncomfortable with the idea.

Eight years ago, Ms. Silmi married Karim, a French national of Moroccan descent, and moved to France with him. Their four children, three boys and a girl, ages 2 to 7, were born in France. In 2004, Ms. Silmi applied for French citizenship, she said, "because I wanted to have the same nationality as my husband and my children." But her request was denied a year later because of "insufficient assimilation" into France.

She appealed, invoking the right to religious freedom. But in late June, the Council of State, the judicial institution with final say on disputes between individuals and the public administration, upheld the ruling.


Ms. Silmi, who resides in France as a legal immigrant, will not lose her right to stay. She has given herself until September to decide whether to make another attempt to acquire citizenship.


The Silmis say they live by a literalist interpretation of the Koran. They do not like the term Salafism, although they say literally it means following the way of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions.

"But today 'Salafist' has come to mean political Islam; people who don't like the government and who approve of violence call themselves Salafists," said her husband, a soft-spoken man who bears two physical signs of devotion in Islam: a beard and a light bruising on his forehead caused by bows in prayer. "We have nothing to do with them."

His wife said that in 2000 she decided to wear the niqab, which is usually worn on the Arabian Peninsula, because in her eyes her traditional Moroccan djelaba — a long flowing garment with a head scarf — was not modest enough. "I don't like to draw men's looks," she said. "I want to belong to my husband and my husband only."


Ms. Silmi's husband, a former bus driver who says he is finding it hard to get work because of his beard, dreams of moving his family to Morocco or Saudi Arabia. "We don't feel welcome here," he said. "I am French, but I can't really say that I am proud of it right now."


From an interview to Kristeligt Dagblad

"What do you mean by equality.  It's right that men can do some things that I can't.  For example, I can't take my children with me into a swimming pool.  But I speak with my chidren's teachers like all other mothers, also the male ones.  And it's pure rubbish that I'm oppressed by my husband and all the men in his family.  I go in and out of the apartment when it fits me.  My youngest is two, but when the children are bigger I would like to work.  I'm a trained seamstress and would like to continue in my profession."

She doesn't think her clothing prevents her from working.

"I thought France was a free country, where people can live as they want.  I respect other's choice to go in jeans or miniskirts.  Why can't people respect my choice of something else.  I am disappointed that I can't be French like my husband and children.  But I respect the decision."

Source: New York Times (English), Kristeligt Dagblad (Danish)

See also: France: Muslim Women Often Wrongly Stereotyped, France: No difference between veil and burqa, France: Woman denied citizenship for wearing a burqa


Anonymous said...

Taqiyya much? First:

She ADMITS to "living in a state of total submission to the men in her family."

And she "leads a secluded life, cut off from French society. She does not know about laïcité or the right to vote and she lives in total submission to the men in her family. Faiza M. appears to think that this normal and doesn't think of contesting this submission."

Now she's saying:

"They say I am under my husband's command and that I am a recluse." Yeah, because you admitted that it was the case. Going grocery shopping does preclude being a recluse. It doesn't even qualify you as human.

And "it is my choice" ... to say this under physical duress on the part of her monster husband. Nobody could willingly wear a niqab. It's dehumanizing, and if she doesn't want unwanted attention, well, she simply wouldn't wear that thing. It's startling. It's impossible to not stare at somone in one of those things.

And she admits: "I want to belong to my husband and my husband only." Pride in slavery. How respectable.

And she "respect[s] other's choice to go in jeans or miniskirts." This statement is (a) patently un-Islamic in that the vast majority of Koranic and Siran verses and Hadith are about intolerance toward infidels and almost all the rest are about the importance of enforcing morality from outside, rather than adhering to it as a personal creed, so in order to be Muslim she actually CAN'T respect that choice, and (b) it's just more taqiyya, since she would not say that if the Muslim population were 20% instead of 10% and she were in a position to be openly intolerant. Muslims say things like that because they want to APPEAR tolerant because they realize that tolerance is an innate free-world societal value, and they will say anything to appear tolerable when in fact their beliefs fall far outside the realm of tolerability, as the court's upholding of the appeal even in the Dhimmi Republic of France demonstrated.

Apparently shaming Muslims is pretty effective, since they have done nothing but prove that they incapable of being educated. Humiliating them is the only way with some people. I really do think that women's rights will be the undoing of Islam. Once Muslim women have equal rights, that cult will necessarily die off really fast. No reasonably enlightened woman with any sort of base modicum of self-respect could possibly willingly buy into an ideology that obligates that they be reduced to parasitic sex slave baby factories, that idealizes pedophilia, that condones polygamy, and that allows their husbands to beat and rape them with complete impunity, which completely removes them from society, which requires them to be quiet, immobile, and passive in order to be tolerated when free women tolerate men and not vice versa, which forces them into Dark-Age Nazi slave rags in order to completely disrupt nature's power structure by depriving them of their dignity, humanity, power, and identity, which has no concept of free will or sexual consent, and which auctions them off like commodities and ultimately gives them no right to choose with whom they spend their lives. Of course, I could be wrong, since many black Africans are Muslim, and the Koran/Hadith/Arabic use one word to refer to both 'black people' and 'slaves,' call blacks 'Allah's' stupidest creatures, 'raisinheads,' and compares them to feces.

Esther, you should have a 'taqiyya' tag like Daniel Pipes.

Esther said...

Hi jdamn13,

I'm sorry, but you're not quoting the same person. The state claimed she was leading a secluded life etc., not her.

Anonymous said...

But she admitted that the only time she gets out is to go to the store...ALL BY HERSELF! It's clear that she never considered that there was ever a world outside her home, only that she needs some milk sometimes. That's living in a state of submission. It certainly doesn't constitute any degree of independence.

Esther said...

Hi jdamn13,

No she didn't.. she said she leaves the house when she pleases. When you're accused of something, you tend to disprove it by claiming the opposite - ie, she can go out on her own, and not as claimed in the newspapers.

Anonymous said...

But she never stated that she ever did leave the house for any other reason. I'm honestly under the impression that she is metaphorically chained to a stove. Before, her Salafism was an excuse as to why the French should give her citizenship. It was a defensive argument. Now that she's actually picked up a newspaper or two and maybe had her second or third conversation with someone she doesn't live with since she moved to the free world, she doesn't like the term because she's suddenly aware of what it means to people outside of her home. And it's government-financed, jizya-collecting housing she lives in. She's not there to assimilate. She doesn't even know what that would entail, as her statements all serve to demonstrate.

Esther said...

Hi jdamn13,

I realize I can't convince you of something you don't want to be convinced of. You prefer to ignore what this woman is saying, that's your prerogative.