The burkini.


Thanks to burkinis, we have Muslim lifesavers.

One of the greatest inventions of our time; an active attempt by Muslims to integrate into society by allowing Muslim women to spend time on public beaches while being dressed in a way that makes them comfortable. A fashionable way for Muslim women to laze on the beach and swim around. A wet-suit merged with a cap and a little skirty thingy that covers ones nethers. Apparently; now a representation of radicalisation and terrorism (you can get the background here).

To be honest, I’ve been very confused by France’s burkini ban. Not because I’m surprised that France has yet again found a way to oppress Muslims – but because the logic is so appallingly flawed that it makes me wonder just how much some people are willing to lie to themselves about their motivations in order to achieve a racist endpoint.

Although France’s highest administrative court has suspended the ban because of how ridiculous it is, many who implemented the ban in the first place are stubbornly defending this decision.

The claim they make is that the burkini (which is actually nothing like a burqa and was clearly named that because of how punny it is) flies in the face of secularism and is reflective of oppressive religious views being forced onto society.

That’s just… how do I put this?

It’s a load of crap.

Essentially; rather than appreciate the fact that the burkini has allowed Muslim women to integrate into and participate in broader society, France has decided that they can’t deal with that.

Instead of seeing the benefits, French authorities decided the best way to prevent radicalisation is to prevent these Muslim women from being on the beach. To make these women feel like they don’t belong. To fine them for choosing to  dress a particular way and to have a particular faith. To embarrass them and scare them out of the civic eye. To remind them that they are different and don’t belong.

It’s insane. The ban fundamentally goes against everything we know about preventing radicalisation. We know that people don’t get radicalised if they feel like they belong. We know communities are more cohesive when people feel that they can be respect in public places. Somehow; these basic principles and freedoms are being ignored by the French.

And then Muslims are asked why they don’t integrate more.

Why does integration mean that we have to take our clothes off?

Amazingly, in the same breath these authorities have both claimed to  be saving the rights of women while stripping away the rights of women.

It’s just incredible how people think that Muslim women can’t speak for themselves. That we’re incapable of deciding what we’re going to wear. That we don’t have a voice.

We do. 

We always have.

If we want to wear bikinis – great. We should be able to. If we want to cover our entire bodies on the beach – great. We should be able to. It is crazy to me that in 2016, we are still talking about whether government has a right to decide how modest a woman’s dress should be.

Aman Ali said it well:

Let’s just hope that this ruling is overturned across the nation and that sanity prevails.

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