French minister compares veiled women to ‘negroes who supported slavery’

March 30, 2016 9:37 pm
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French families minister Laurence Rossignol (pictured) sparked outrage on social media with her comment comparing women who wear the veil to "negroes who supported slavery"/AFP
French families minister Laurence Rossignol (pictured) sparked outrage on social media with her comment comparing women who wear the veil to “negroes who supported slavery”/AFP

, PARIS, France, Mar 30 – A French government minister on Wednesday compared women who wear the veil to “negroes who supported slavery” amid a backlash against the growing trend for Muslim-orientated fashion.

Families minister Laurence Rossignol, sparked outrage on social media with her comment which came after former fashion mogul Pierre Berge lashed out at designers creating Islamic clothing and headscarves, accusing them of taking part in the “enslavement of women”.

Overview
  • As she apologised for using the n-word, two leading French designers - Agnes b and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac - also came out strongly against so-called "modest" Muslim-friendly fashion.
  • Rossignol admitted later to AFP that she had made "an error of language".
  • "But other than that... I don't take back a word," the socialist said.

The businessman, partner of the late fashion legend Yves Saint Laurent, took aim at the wave of big fashion chains that have followed the Italian designers Dolce & Gabbana in catering specifically to the Muslim market.

Rossignol, who is also responsible for women’s rights, maintained she was referring to an abolitionist tract by the French philosopher Montesquieu, “On the Enslavement of Negroes”, when she made her controversial comments to BFMTV and RMC radio.

As she apologised for using the n-word, two leading French designers – Agnes b and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac – also came out strongly against so-called “modest” Muslim-friendly fashion.

“I am scandalised by it,” Berge told Europe 1 French radio.

“Creators should have nothing to do with Islamic fashion. Designers are there to make women more beautiful, to give them their freedom, not to collaborate with this dictatorship which imposes this abominable thing by which we hide women and make them live a hidden life.”

Rossignol admitted later to AFP that she had made “an error of language”.

“But other than that… I don’t take back a word,” the socialist said.

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