Programmed by Rokhaya Diallo & Grace Ly
Nassima, Amina, Cindy and Khadîdja… They’re students, managers and educators. Four different lives, four different personalities and four visions of the veil, its significance and its place in French society. These young French women of Muslim faith describe in simple words their spiritual journeys, the reactions of their parents (who are often against wearing the veil) and their attachment to their country, France. By returning to the human dimension and people’s real lives, the film dispassionately tackles questions of secularism, school, the place of French Muslim women in France and the real issue of this debate – racism.
This film could have been shot today. Despite the years that have gone by since it was made, it remains disturbingly relevant. Since the late 1980s, Muslim women’s veils and headscarves have been debated with obsessive regularity. “Veiled women” are spoken of as passive entities, as though headscarves fell onto the heads of women incapable of free choice, covered up without any say in the matter whatsoever. Avoiding received ideas and fantasies, Sonia Kichah went to meet these women who agreed to express themselves in the first person, women who, weighing their every word, reveal the thinly veiled colonial overtones behind speeches claiming to defend secularism. Giving substance to the feminist slogan “my body belongs to me”, they spiritedly challenge the (m)paternalism that claims to protect them by confiscating their voice while inflicting a life of invisibility.
Rokhaya Diallo & Grace Ly
Authors and presenters of the Kiffe Ta Race podcast