Fighting Islam in Stilettos
It is no secret that Islamophobia is rampant in many parts of Western Europe, and that anti-Islamic rhetoric has helped many radically conservative political parties gain approval from their electoral base. The far-right Flemish party Vlaams Belang is a prime example of this practice, and last month, Senator Anke Van Dermeersch took a novel approach to her party’s efforts to combat the Islamisation of Belgium. Her weapon of choice? Red-soled Louboutin stilettos.
Senator Van Dermeersch, a former Miss Belgium, was featured in Vlaams Belang’s anti-Islam campaign poster wearing Louboutin’s signature stilettos and markings on her thighs indicating potential skirt lengths by terms such as “Sharia compatible” and “Stoning.” The poster, clearly encouraging Islamophobia, was soon brought to trial by Louboutin who demanded it be taken down immediately as he feared his brand would be tarnished by its message. Louboutin won the trial, but not without Miss Van Dermeersch getting the satisfaction of wearing the designer’s signature red-soled stilettos at her court appearance. While anecdotal, this example nevertheless serves as a reminder of the persistent discrimination adherents of Islam continue to face within even the most prestigious of European countries. Furthermore, the fact that Vlaams Belang is not only a relatively popular political party, but also a party in Belgium, a country whose capital serves as the de facto capital of the European Union, indicates that the EU is far from accomplishing its mission of creating a unified European community.