An Open letter from Hizb ut-Tahrir to President Chirac, President of the Republic of France

The following is a letter and photos of a delegation to the French President regarding the proposal to ban the hijab in the country.

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِِ

An Open letter from Hizb ut-Tahrir to President Chirac, President of the Republic of France

Monsieur le President,

We were hesitant to write this letter and there were two reasons for this hesitance:

Firstly; we do not represent a State. We are a political party whose ideology is Islam working for the resumption of the Islamic way of life by establishing the Islamic State, the Rightly guided Khilafah State in the Muslim lands. Since we do not represent a State we felt that you might find it inappropriate that a party writes to you rather than a state writing to a major power such as France.

Secondly; we do not write to any ruler who we believe will not accept the demands of our letter. We heard your speech on 17th December 2003 regarding the wearing of the Hijaab by Muslim women in France. We heard you say explicitly that France adopts secularism as a system and ideology and that you will not allow any religious symbolism in your institutions. We also heard you say explicitly that the Hijaab, i.e. the headscarf worn by Muslim women, is a religious symbol like wearing a cross and other such symbols, whereas in Islam the headscarf for a woman is considered a divine obligation like prayer and fasting. Thus, we understood from your speech that this matter has been decided by you and that you will not reconsider your recommendation to pass a law banning the Hijaab. Consequently, had we written to you there would have been little chance of you accepting our request.

In consideration of two points we decided to write to you:

Firstly: 480 years ago in the sixteenth century, we, the Muslims, undertook an act of goodwill towards France.

Secondly: Historically, France has a tradition of chivalry and reciprocating acts of goodwill.

It is our expectation in writing this letter, that the France of today will reciprocate the act of goodwill undertaken towards the France of yesterday. The French king Francis I was captured at the battle of Pavia in 1525. France felt humiliated by the capture of her king but her army was unable to rescue him from captivity. She made recourse to the Islamic Khilafah state, under the Ottomans, at that time, and she sent a messenger on behalf of the king of France on 6th December 1525 seeking help from the Islamic State. The messenger met the Ottoman Caliph Sulayman al-Qanooni who responded to his call. Sulayman gave the messenger a letter which read: "we have received the letter delivered by your messenger, and in which you stated that your enemy has attacked your country and you are imprisoned and seek our help in respect to securing your release. We have answered your request so be at ease and do not worry". This is how Sulayman responded. The Khilafah state used its international weight and military power to rescue the king of France and made an effective contribution towards his release.

The Caliph of the Muslims helped France without compensation, without occupying a part of France or colonising any region of France in return. Rather he did the action as an act of goodwill. Furthermore, the Treaty of Constantinople that was concluded in 1536 between the Caliph of the Muslims, Sultan Sulayman al-Qanooni and the king of France, Francis I, granted France concessions in the Islamic State which were granted to no other state.

Monsieur le President,

This is the act of goodwill that our State, the Islamic State, the Ottoman Khilafah State, undertook for the France of yesterday. Will the France of today reciprocate this act of goodwill to the Muslims and annul the decision to ban the wearing of the Hijaab by Muslim women in France?

We will wait and see – if France today reciprocates this act of goodwill then this will be a good gesture towards the Islamic Khilafah state when we re-establish it by Allah's leave.

Kindly accept our greetings.

Hizb ut-Tahrir
9 Dhul Qa'dah 1424 AH
1st January 2004

Pictures of the delegation to the French presidency to deliver the letter