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Breaking the Silence: French Women

by Fadela Amara and Sylvia Zappi - £27.00  University of California Press (2006)
paperback    ISBN 13: 9780520246218 | ISBN 10: 0520246217

Born in France to Algerian immigrant parents, Fadela Amara is a human rights activist who speaks with both a personal and collective voice. This book is a passionate account of her struggle to found the movement called "Ni putes ni soumises" (Neither whores nor doormats) aimed at shattering the law of silence about violence against women within the Muslim community.
 
The questions Amara raises are part of a broader agenda that seeks to integrate French Muslims into contemporary French society. These issues also pose major political problems of national identity and the defense of a secular state. As France increasingly confronts ethnic tensions and the emergence of Muslim fundamentalism, French cities face problems of unemployment, racial discrimination, and violence.
 
Amara's eloquent call for social and gender equality underscores a host of interconnected issues, including France's colonial past and a degradation of the suburbs that has progressively marginalized immigrant communities. Focusing on the repressive code of clothing and gender behavior imposed on young women by a minority of Islamic fundamentalist men, Amara challenges supporters of those wearing the "veil," or Islamic headscarf, in French schools, analyzes the motives behind such actions, and offers her own opinions as to its meanings.
 
Moving, candid, and extremely timely, "Neither Whores Nor Doormats" created a sensation when it was published in France, where it went on to win a number of awards.

(Price & availability last checked: June 2018)

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In booklists: Women's Rights Worldwide, Women's Activism, France, Women in Europe,
In categories: Feminism & Women, Peace & Human Rights, Changing the World, World - Europe,

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