One of the many disastrous consequences of the tragic events of 9/11 is the war waged by the neocolonialists in order to “liberate” Muslim women. This gender-based war stands on a series of pillars, such as the presumption that Western civilization offers women a great deal of privileges, while Muslim culture gives none. Therefore, it would be logical to suppose that, because of the many opportunities the West grants to Muslim women who reside there, the latter may have an active role in the local political process. However, Muslim women have scarce visibility in European political life, and their presence is sometimes merely instrumental to some party: in most cases, women are coopted because they are a good sample of “secular Muslims” (i.e.
, they do not wear the hijab
, the veil and a modest attire); in others, they are appointed because
they are veiled and can therefore become a good vehicle in order to win the support both of the Muslim community and of its sympathizers. In this paper, I will analyze some crucial aspects of Muslim women’s formal political participation in some European countries; in addition, I will focus on the Italian case with the help of a series of interviews with Muslim women who play an active role in local political councils. The study shows how in European politics, Muslim women can become a commodity even when they stand out as rising political individuals; but also how they fight to gain visibility and public recognition, in spite of the tense situation and of the rampant Islamophobia.
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