The Atlantic

The Muslim Feminist Group Scrambling France’s Left-Right Divide

On Islam, disagreements within the two political families may matter more than the differences between them.
Source: Michel Spingler / AP

Lallab, a Muslim feminist organization in France, has been raking in national awards and media attention since its creation by two young students in 2016. It emphasizes the interplay of racism, sexism, and Islamophobia in Muslim women’s daily lives in France, and its website is rife with language like “intersectional” and “allyship,” more reminiscent of American activism than French. Lallab’s brand of feminism has made waves—last year, its treasurer got into a heated television debate with the former prime minister about the headscarf —and now, it’s finding itself at the center of a controversy that shakes up the traditional left/right divide in France.

Early last month, Lallab sought out accreditation from the French government. The group wanted to participate in the civic service, a voluntary program that enables young French citizens to do short-term work in the publicWithin days of Lallab’s mission proposal going up on the Civic Service Organization’s website, a scandal erupted: Many observers objected to what they saw as a violation of the organization’s to secularism—which is required of an agency by the government. Lallab’s detractors considered the group a religious organization; said it had ties to, or even was a front for, the Muslim Brotherhood in France (Lallab has this).

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