Banning burkinis contradicts the very idea of secularism that France upholds

It is not about security, it is not about terrorism, it is also not about extremism and certainly not about secularism

Recently the Mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard made the decision to introduce a ban on the burkini at the French Reviera.

The ruling itself says:

“Access to beaches and for swimming is banned to anyone who does not have (swim wear) which respects good customs and secularism.”

First of all, secularism means the state having nothing to do with religion and this is very much meddling and controlling things where religion is concerned. If the person is not inciting violence and/or spreading hate towards others, there really is no reason for the state to interfere.

Since time immemorial women have fought for the right to wear what they want, and not be dictated by men (and even other women) on how long their skirt should be. It works on the flipside as well; people should not be dictating how “short” a skirt should be either. If one should not be criticized on how much their skin is showing, they should not be criticized on how little their skin is showing either.

It works both ways.

Thierry Migoule, Cannes’ head of municipal services further added to the ruling:

“We are not talking about banning the wearing of religious symbols on the beach, but ostentatious clothing which refers to an allegiance to terrorist movements which are at war with us.”

I thought allegiance to terrorist movements meant holding up guns and making actual threats to inflict violence on others or in fact, verbally pledging allegiance to them!

This is what a Burkini looks like. Where does it say or indicate, “I heart terrorists?” How do these clothes insinuate ‘pretentions’ or allegiance to, perhaps ISIS? Or even say they support them?

And if that does indeed show support to terrorist groups, then how come this female in regular surf wear does not?

How about a male then? No?

David Lisnard also said: 

"I simply forbid a uniform that is the symbol of Islamic extremism.”

Fair enough. There are many instances when women are indeed forced to wear clothing they don’t want to. The Taliban does force women to be covered such that even their eyes don’t know. ISIS does the same so point well made by David Lisnard. 

Look at this picture, this lady here certainly seems to be head deep in Islamic extremism like he states… oh wait…maybe not. This is one of the most beautiful chefs in the world, Nigella Lawson (also a journalist). No less than a houri herself, the only way she can kill people is with her decadent chocolate desserts!

So this should be some indication, that the burkini just might not be a symbol of Islamic terrorism after all. Everyone has their own personal level of modesty and comfort zone when it comes to clothes. Some people burn easy in the sun, and might just prefer to cover up to protect their skin.

Like I said before, there are certainly a lot of women who are indeed forced to hide behind a thick sheet of cloth when they themselves don’t want to. There are countries that impose this as well who wish to take away their identity.

Aren’t they going through enough already with others dictating their clothes? Why does one have to add to it by taking away places they could at least visit for a day out? What makes them think that the ban will let the “decision makers” say to the women, “Since you are not allowed to go there, you can now start wear bikinis?” No. What will happen is this will just be something else taken away from them.

Happy now?

Okay, forget all that. Let’s talk about something else, how about a stinger suit?

As far as the ban on the veil (Naqab) goes, I completely agree because security is touted as a reason. Anyone could be hiding under the veil and there have numerous instances where men have posed as women in it too; the most popular case being our very own Abdul Aziz (aka Burqa Mullah) who tried to make a run for it hiding in a Burqa.

The ban on the burkini has nothing to do with security. The face is uncovered and clearly visible in it. If the hair being covered is a problem, then a lot of people wear swimming caps too. The ban should be extended to them as well. The burkini itself is made of the same stretchy material as that of a regular swimsuit. Nothing can be concealed underneath it without being visible. In fact, there are more chances of weapons, etc being hidden in jeans and a skirt. It is just a little looser than a regular bathing suit and does not pose the same threat as a woman (for example) wearing a loose abaya and clothes made from the wrong material.

So it is not about security, it is not about terrorism, it is also not about extremism and certainly not about secularism.

All they are saying is pretty much, “wear the clothes I choose for you or go away.”

Sound familiar?

Shamila Ghyas

Shamila Ghyas is the author of the Aoife and Demon series. She also writes for Khabaristan Times, The Nation, Express Tribune, Dawn and other publicationsFind her on Twitter and Facebook

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt