UPDATE (26 August 2016): France’s “burkini” ban has wisely been overturned by the country’s top administrative court.
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I am probably among the last guys on this planet who would normally ever become concerned about issues related to clothing fashions of either women or men. But I do care a lot about civil liberties and fighting terrorism, so it’s impossible for me to ignore the stupid, inane, and frankly dangerous actions by officials in France who have been banning the women’s fashion popularly known as the “burkini” from beaches along the Riviera.
The burkini — primarily a choice of some Muslim women but reportedly with around 40% of sales going to non-Muslims — is a beach garment that only exposes the face, hands, and feet. Frankly, given the increase in ultraviolet radiation and risks of sunburn or much worse these days, this indeed sounds like an eminently practical garment for a lot of folks, irrespective of their religion.
Oh, but not in France. Not in the land of “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity), from where photos and videos are appearing showing armed police forcing women to remove clothing at the beach, then ticketing them for failure to wear “an outfit respecting good morals and secularism.”
But beaches where women can go topless or nude in France? Hey, no problem there, eh?
Now, I have nothing against “clothing optional” beaches.
But the sheer hypocrisy on display by French officials in the context of the burkini ban is nothing short of breathtaking.
While French officials have attempted to claim otherwise, their actions are a direct attack specifically on women who choose to dress modestly at the beach — and yes, while that doesn’t mean only Muslim women, the French focus against Islam in this instance is obvious to everyone.
This is only one example of Europe’s growing obsession with restricting the clothing choices of Muslim women.
It’s not just burkinis under attack, but also other forms of traditional Muslim dress ranging from burkas to simple head scarves.
Ironically, these European governments are imposing their own “clothing oppression” while claiming that they’re protecting Muslim women from religious oppression! This displays either vast ignorance or massive hypocrisy or both — since many Muslim women prefer these modest forms of dress, and are not forced nor coerced into wearing them.
In any case, for governments to dictate women’s clothing choices in this manner is abominable.
I’m not a religious person, but I consider religious freedoms being trampled this way by ostensibly enlightened countries in Europe to be utterly disgraceful.
Worse, it’s potentially extremely dangerous, since it plays directly into the hands of radicals who can easily leverage these government actions into “War on Islam” propaganda to inspire terrorists and other criminals. It’s almost as if these governments are purposely choosing dictates most likely to provide terrorists with as much ammunition as possible for evil efforts.
France and the rest of Europe need to get their figurative heads out of their figurative behinds. They need to be working on the foundational issues of conflict within and related to the Middle East, not women’s choices in clothing.
And they need to stop behaving as if the West is on the verge of a new Crusade against Islam.
Europe’s current approach is wrong and foolhardy, and can only lead down the path toward further intolerance and hatred — and risks sucking the entire world down into an endless nightmare significantly of these governments’ own making.
I have consulted to Google, but I am not currently doing so — my opinions expressed here are mine alone.
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The correct term is “Internet” NOT “internet” — please don’t fall into the trap of using the latter. It’s just plain wrong!