France doubles down on burkini ban as images appear to show cops forcing woman to remove swimwear
|National Post 24 Aug 2016 at 08:32|
On Friday, Nice became one of a dozen towns in France to ban the burkini, claiming the swimsuit overtly manifests adherence to a religion at a time when France and places of worship are the target of terrorist attacks.
In Cannes last week, a group of Muslim women were approached by police for wearing burkinis on the shore. Four women were fined 38 ($55) and told to leave the area, according to the Independent.
On Twitter, many observers noted that Catholic nuns, who wear body-covering habits, would not face the same rules about covering up, despite the religious nature of their garb. Many expressed disgust over the state, quite literally, policing what women can and cannot wear.
Damn infidels & heathens pushing that Sharia bullcrap on France! What was that? Nuns? Those are nuns? Oh #BurkiniBan pic.twitter.com/rHmiH5vCb2
French burkini bans have cited reasons that range everything from the observance of secularism, risks to public order and, sometimes directly, security.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls, backing the bans, said that burkinis are a sign of danger.
The burkini isnt a new line of bathing suit, a style, Valls said in an interview last week with La Provence newspaper serving the cities of southern France. Its the translation of a political project, counter-society, notably founded on the servitude of the woman.
The beach bans push the legal envelope on two national laws that amount to dress codes no headscarves in classrooms and no face-covering veils in streets, passed in 2004 and 2010, respectively.
A 22-year-old French Muslim woman living in Marseille was accosted while shopping in a grocery store with her mother by several people who had seen her on a TV news show explaining why she wears a burkini to the beach.
The incident reflects just how threatening the subject of head-to-toe swimwear has become, and stoked the debate on secularism still volatile more than a century after the 1905 law on separation of church and state that established it as a principle of the French Republic.
Then, it was enacted to bring peace to tumultuous relations with the Roman Catholic clergy. Today, enshrined in the constitution, secularism is still being defined, debated and clarified by politicians and experts. An Observatory of Secularism, attached to the prime minister, was created in 2007 and discerns an annual prize.
Some Muslims and non-Muslims alike maintain that the purpose of secularism is being thwarted and the principle transformed into an instrument to regulate the behaviour of Muslims.
Islamophobia is a new way to say Im a patriot and thats the way Ill defend my country against you people who cannot integrate, said Rim-Sarah Alouane, an expert on Muslim issues at the University of Toulouse. Politicians, she said, are actually making sure the population does not integrate. They are making Muslims feel like that they cannot be French.