French Attack on Muslim Sportswomen in the Olympics

French Attack on Muslim Sportswomen in the Olympics

France is always notorious for its anti Islamic laws and the Islamophobic sentiments that are found there. The most recent incident of this kind is the ban on headscarves in the upcoming Olympics 2024 imposed by the French government on the athletes. This move sparked a huge amount of criticism of the French government for being Islamophobic.

 The spokeswoman for the UN high commissioner for Human Rights also expressed concerns over this by saying, “No one should impose on a woman what she needs to wear, or not wear,”. It is important to understand here that the French court in June upheld the ban on hijab during football games. This state sanctioned secularism is also imposed in the daily social lives of the muslim woman. 

They linked this ban to the so called “smooth running” of the matches, however, FIFA who is the world governing body of football has allowed the Muslim girls to wear hijab since 2014. Although this applies to all religions, muslim girls are the one who are deeply affected by this. 

Past incidents:

The Burkini ban, which is a full body swimsuit that muslim women wear, in 2016 is one more example of discrimination on part of the French government. Such sort of acts are direct infringements on the religious rights of the people. 

Moreover, if we dig a bit deeper we can find that France also imposed a ban on the wearing of Burqa, which is a traditional muslim dress outerwear for covering the whole body. These sort of restrictions on the religious rights of people are not expected from a country championing free speech and liberties. But looking at the history of France, these restrictions which are Islamophobic are no surprise.

Islamophobic essence:

If we look at these issues more specifically we can find that the direct victims are indeed Muslim women. Such incidents have made it difficult for the muslim woman to play sports as most clubs do not allow them to play if they do not follow these enforced dress codes.

There is also a movement, Les Hijabeuses, which is led by Dembele and some other young footballers to put pressure on the French Football Federation (FFF). The French female footballers are of the stance that the French government is making them choose between their religion and what they love. 

There is also a study by the Collective Against Islamophobia which highlighted how the Islamophobic trends are gender specific. About 70 percent of the crimes based on hate emanating because of religion are against the woman. It is also important to note that France voted 160-143 to ban hijab in all sports. They link every hijab wearing muslim woman to radical elements and think that these steps bring religious neutrality in sports. 

Sports as a tool for discrimination:

Moreover, connecting hijab to extremism is total nonsense because this has nothing to do with extremism, rather this is just an excuse on the part of the French government. It is important for the French government to understand that banning hijab is the same as forcing someone to wear it. It is important to consider that relating this with feminism is also not a valid agreement as feminism gives women the choice to express themselves freely. 

Larger effects:

However this recent attack by France on the freedom of muslim women is not only limited to French athletes but the effects will transcend. This is because the Olympics is a multi nation event with global representation of athletes and spectators. When these discriminatory sentiments are so deeply embedded in French people then this will affect both the players and the spectators during public interactions. 


In the end it is safe to say that French Islamophobic sentiments will be clearly expelled out to the world in an event as global as the Olympics. It is not out of the question that if France keeps following the same suit in its racial policies we might see it loosing hosting rights for the future international events.  



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