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Why Banning the ‘Burkini’ is Shameful for Europe

August 23, 2016
Tunisian women, one (R) wearing a “burkini”, a full-body swimsuit designed for Muslim women, swim on August 16, 2016 at Ghar El Melh beach near Bizerte, north-east of the capital Tunis. / AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID

So far, five French towns have banned burkinis – swimwear for Muslim women who want to enjoy the sea under their own conditions in terms of body coverage – on their beaches. Three more towns plan to follow. The main arguments used to legitimise this measure are the secularism of French society and both hygiene and safety concerns. However, the burkini ban is about none of these things. As the case has sparked debate in several European countries, it once again becomes clear that this discussion is about the war on women’s bodies, used by both sides in the everlasting latent conflict between Islamic fundamentalists and radical Western ‘freedom’ defenders. ‘Symbol of Islamic extremism’ The words ‘hygiene’ and ‘ safety’ were mumbled by mayors of the towns to explain their measure, but it didn’t take long before their actual motives came out. The mayor of Cannes, a French Riviera city, stated in the beginning of August that burkinis were a symbol of Islamic extremism and ‘could risk disrupting public order while France was the target of terrorist attacks’. Thierry Migoule, the head of municipal services of Cannes, even went as…

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