Lettre au Washington Post

Burqa & Covid-19 protective mask: reply to Washington Post from French-speaking academics and researchers

A recent Washington Post article drew a parallel between sanitary obligation to wear a mask against Covid-19 and ban on the Islamic burqa in public places in France. To be sarcastic on this apparent contradiction ignores differences that make such a connection absurd. Sanitary mask is worn by everyone, it is not a sexist symbol. On the contrary, burqa restricted to women, is a sexist symbol. The wearing of a sanitary mask is temporarily recommended, during the pandemic, and is compulsory in certain places open to the public only; wearing burqa is an end in itself, with no time limit. Wearing health mask does not promote any ideology; wearing a burqa aims to promote an extremist form not representative of Islam. Wearing a mask is a sign of sociability to protect others whoever they may be; wearing a burqa, on the contrary, is asserting some affiliations to an ideological group, hereby excluding all other people. Women ask for asylum in France because they refuse the burqa… .. this is not the case with mask protecting from droplets.

It is unfortunate that the Washington Post is not further informed about these fundamental differences. Many researchers work on these issues and are willing to provide information on French policy regarding health masks and religious symbols. Those who advocate tolerance towards discriminating Islamic fundamentalism could thus open up to the understanding of secular anti-racist universalism, particularly in France

The signatories are Members of Vigilance Universités (University collective for secularism, against racism & anti-Semitism, against racialism & communitarianism – https://vigilanceuniversites.wordpress.com/)

Evelyne Buissière (classe préparatoire, Grenoble)

Liliane Kandel (Univ Paris 7 Denis Diderot)

Gilles Denis (Univ. Lille)

Danielle Delmaire (Univ. Lille)

Joëlle Allouche (CNRS)

Michel Dreyfus (Univ. Paris 1)

Françoise Lavocat (Univ. Paris 3)

Laurent Loty (CNRS)

Richard Bénatouil (Univ. Nantes)

Maria Giuseppina Bruna (Ipag Business School)

Eric Guichard (Univ. Lyon)

Martine Hennard Dutheil (Univ. Lausanne)

Claude Cazalé (Univ. Paris Nanterre)

Jacques Gilbert (Univ. Nantes)

Jacqueline Costa-Lascoux (CNRS -Sc po Paris)

Belinda Cannone (Univ. Caen)

Isabelle Barbéris (Univ. Paris)

Sylvie Catellin (Univ. Versailles-Saint-Quentin)

Dominique Legallois (Univ. Paris 3)

Franck Neveu (Sorbonne Université)

Jean-Pierre Schandeler (CNRS)

Isabelle Safa (Univ. Lille)

Marie-Cécile Schang (Univ. de Bretagne-Sud)

Albert Doja (Univ. Lille)

Marylène Manté-Dunat (Univ. Lille)

Hugo Prod’homme (Univ. Lille)

Claudine Attias-Donfut (EHESS)

Véronique Taquin (classe préparatoire Paris)

Marie Estripeaut-Bourjac (Univ. Bordeaux Montaigne)

Patricia Victorin (Univ. de Bretagne-Sud)

Christian Puech (Univ. Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3)

Patricia Cotti (Univ. Strasbourg)

Céline Masson (Univ. Picardie)

Anne Richardot (Univ. Lille)

Vanda Enoiu (Univ. Paris 3)

Philippe Zard (Univ. Paris Nanterre)

Sébastien Fray (Univ. Saint-Étienne)

Irina Ghidali (Univ. Paris 3)

Martine Benoit (Univ. Lille)

Alexis Buixan (Univ. Rennes 1)

Adrien Chapel (Univ. Cergy-Pontoise)

Florence Bergeaud-Blackler (CNRS)

Andrée Lerousseau (Univ. Lille)

Jeanne Favret-Saada (EPHE)

Anne Brun, (Univ. Lyon 2)

Pierre Schapira (Sorbonne Université)

Jean Fichot (Univ. Paris 1)

Alain Vienne (Univ. Lille)

Christine Pietrement-Denis (Univ. Reims Champagne Ardenne)

François Rastier (CNRS)

Jean G. Dhombres (EHESS)

Isabelle de Mecquenem (Univ. Reims Champagne Ardenne)

Jean Paul Sermain (Univ. Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3)

Samir Bajrić (Univ. de Bourgogne)

Michel Prum (Univ Paris 7 Denis Diderot)

Claire Derycke (Univ. Lille)

Jean Szlamowicz (Univ. Bourgogne)

Joël Kotek (Univ. Libre de Bruxelles)

Christian Gilain (Sorbonne Université)

Thierry Blin (Univ. Montpellier III)

Françoise Longy (Univ. Strasbourg)

Nathalie Heinich (CNRS-EHESS)

Fadila Maaroufi (Univ. Libre de Bruxelles)

Christophe Batsch (Univ de Lille)

Véronique Le Ru  (Univ. Reims)‌

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