The human rights organization, of which the Netherlands is also a member, has posted messages on social media praising the hijab as a sign of diversity. For example, there is a split portrait of two women, one covered and the other uncovered, with the motto: “Diversity is beauty, and the veil represents freedom.”
In France in particular, where the separation of state and religion is sacred, politicians react heavily to the message. Paris summoned the Council of Europe to remove the letter. And French Foreign Minister Sarah El-Hairy (Al-Shabab) claimed that it was successful: “We have our refusal, this campaign is being withdrawn.”
In Belgium, too, the response was filled with incomprehension. “This publication undermines the freedom struggle of women,” said Asita Kanko, MEP for N-VA. “As a woman, I am deeply shocked. I will always oppose those who abuse freedom to force women into submission.”
The headscarf message, which is part of an anti-discrimination project with the European Union, has since been deleted. The Council of Europe said in a statement that the content is the opinion of members of the Inclusion Working Group.
The European Commission, as sponsor of the campaign, was deeply embarrassed. A Brussels spokesperson says Brussels had nothing to do with the content. “The commission does not promote religious clothing. Women should be able to wear whatever they want, but also have the freedom to not wear things.”
Telegraph reporter WiredDoc recently spoke with famous Iranian human rights activist Masih Alinejad about her fight against the headscarf:
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