'Show us respect and equality': filmmaker, feminist Samia Chala on why France must look in the mirror and lift the veil ban

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Since its introduction in April 2011, a French law banning the ‘concealment of the face’ in public has been received by a section of France’s practicing Muslims, estimated to total about two million people, as an act of discrimination and provocation, for it above all targets the wearing of the Muslim veil. Documentary-maker Samia Chala (pictured) settled in France in the 1990s after fleeing the Islamist-led civil war in her native Algeria in the 1990s. In this interview with Rachida El Azzouzi and Antoine Perraud, this self-proclaimed feminist and “mauler of Islamists” explains her outrage at a law that prohibits a basic freedom and which, she argues, does nothing but to further stigmatize an already largely alienated population of North African origin. “I am doing nothing other than sounding an alarm," says Chala. “If we don’t stop this escalation, there will be a clash. And what a clash!”

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Algerian documentary-maker Samia Chala settled in France in 1994, since when she has produced numerous films about both her native country and issues surrounding the often troubled history of integration into French society of its large population of North African origin.