Opinion | Boycott the French

While it is not the most efficient means of protest, we should boycott French products over their mistreatment of Muslims.



Models wear creations for the Chanel spring/summer 2021 fashion show Oct. 6 during Paris Fashion Week. The show was hosted at the Grand Palais.

Zeina Aboushaar, Opinions Columnist

French designers have created the most renowned fashion brands in the world from Chanel, Saint Laurent, Hermez, Louis Vuitton, and the list goes on. France is regarded as the world’s fashion capital and has immense influence on the modern world of fashion with its reputation of one of the most innovative and out-there sources of fashion. So why is it, that a hijab, a piece of fabric, is causing such irrational reactions in France? 

It’s acceptable in France to wear Babushkas as fashion statements, yet wearing the Hijab for religious reasons is unacceptable. 

I find it bewildering that the same nation that accepts the most bizarre fashion risks is deeply rooted with islamophobia and continuously discriminates against Muslim women for simply wearing the Hijab. During the month of October, two Muslim women were repreatedly stabbed by two french women who earlier were screaming racial slurs and trying to rip their hijabs off. Their screams were caught in a video going viral in the French capital. It is no surprise that the French media remain silent about an attack that they clearly saw as anti-muslim. 

This incident came amid heightened racial tensions following French president Macron’s speech where he called Islam “a religion in crisis all over the world today”, and pledged to fight “Islamist separatism”. He also voiced his support of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdos right, to publish cartoons of the prophet of Islam which is completely disrespectful and has left many Muslims all over the world in distress

Instead of fighting with Muslims, the French government is fighting against Muslims. Instead of fighting systematic racism of religious groups, Macron unveiled a plan to reform the practice of Islam in the country, restricting funds that Muslim communities recieve.  

Muslims in France have complained about the heightened islamophobia which is caused by the government shut down of mosques and various Muslim organizations. Activists all over the world announced a boycott of French products and showed solidarity with the 5 million Muslims in France. 

A list of brands such as “Lancome, Chanel, Givenchy, etc.” have circulated around twitter, reports The Middle East Eye. Rallies all over the Gaza Strip, Syria, and Tunisia have erupted in response to the event that occurred. War torn countries are fighting for Muslims and basic fundamental human rights, while we sit in peace and watch as the murder of Muslims is justified and continues to occur. 

In the Middle East, activists call to boycott French products and leaders of various nations have advised their citizens against buying French products to somehow get the message across to France that the world is watching and will not stand by. 

We can not stand by silently, especially when we claim we are a nation that respects people of all backgrounds. We must show solidarity with the Muslim communities, raise awareness of the bigotry in the French administration, and boycott French companies and products. 

French companies have called the boycott “stupid” and claimed they are not worried about the calls to boycott their products. These big companies are only commending the hostile environment that is the byproduct of policies by the government itself. 

The fight against islamophobia begins at our own campuses. Educate yourselves on the true message of Islam. Following September 11, 2001 there was an increase of hate crimes against Muslim Americans and many faced an upsurge of negative stereotypes. We can not let ignorance repeat itself. Islam is often portrayed in the media as violent, which puts Muslims and other minorities at risk. 

We can not continue to fan the fire that continues to burn for years on.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.