France: Headscarf wearing Muslim on Communist party list

France: Headscarf wearing Muslim on Communist party list

France is in an uproar after the extreme-leftist and anti-religious party NPA put a Muslim women with a headscarf on its list.

The New Anti-capitalist Party (NPA) in France caused a commotion when it produced its regional elections list. Ilhem Moussaid (22), a Muslim woman with a headscarf, is 4th on the list for the Vaucluse department.

A remarkable decision for a party which is based on communist ideals and sees anti-Capitalism, anti-racism, feminism and anti-religion as fundamental principles.

The decision provoked strong reactions, both within and outside the party. Aurélie Filipetti, of the Socialist Party, suggested NPA chairperson Besancenot and his supporters, should re-read the books of Marx, the philosophical father of Communism. "Religion is the opium of the people," Filipetti quoted from Marx's book.

There's a division also within the NPA. while a majority of the party fully supports Moussaid's candidacy, a minority, about 15 candidates, withdrew from the campaign. They say that wearing a headscarf can't be reconciled with the anti-religious and feminist character of the party. "the religious convictions should remain within the private sphere," the minority announced to the French press. Feminists see the headscarf as a symbol of the oppression of women.

The feminist organization Ni Putes Ni Soumises even wants to lodge a complaint against the anti-Capitalist party in Vaucluse. "With their choice to argue for an 'open' separation of Church and State, the NPA distorts the values of the Republic and they suggest a re-reading of these values from an obsolete view of women," chairperson Sihem Habchi wrote on their website. She calls the action anti-feminist, against the separation of Church and State and against the Republic.

In an internal memo to the party members, the young Muslim woman said that she regrets that eight years of her life have been reduced to a headscarf and religion is seen as a danger. Moussaid, which supports contraception and abortion, confirmed she's a "feminist, international and anti-Capitalist activist".

Though the party says they support Moussaid, an internal memo emphasizes that the decision to put her on the voting list, was a decision made by the local party heads in Vaucluse. "The decision should not be seen as the national position of the NPA." The commotion regarding the case is according to the NPA the fault of the 'not so objective' media.

Source: De Standaard (Dutch)

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