The news has come following a request by The League of Human Rights to overturn the ban on burkinis, after French police this week ordered a Muslim woman to remove her burkini on a busy beach in Nice – close to where the Bastille Day lorry attack occured – because of it’s so-called link to anti-secularism. The ban has been temporarily lifted based on the grounds that it contravenes civil liberties. Responding to the decision of France’s highest administrative court to overturn the ban on the burkini on a French beach, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director said; “By overturning a discriminatory ban that is fuelled by and is fuelling prejudice and intolerance, today’s decision has drawn an important line in the sand.” The small town of Villeneuve-Loubet, located in the Southeastern region of France, is one of 30 regions to actively ban the wearing of burkinis.
What is a burkini?
A burkini is a type of swimming full-body costume for practising female Muslims. Islamic women tend to cover most of their bodies as a sign of respect to their faith. The burkini was designed by Aheda Zanetti which, according to her, was created to give Muslim women more freedom, not revoke it. Zanetti created the burkini back in 2004 after noticing her niece was unable to participate in sports due to the restrictive nature of covering her entire body (especially living in Australia where it consistently reaches temperatures above 30 degrees).
What’s the problem?
Initially, it was very unclear whether the ban stemmed from a religious and racism-driven ideology. However, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls addressed the issue, saying that burkinis are “not compatible with the values of France and the Republic” – which is far better than religious or racist-driven hatred, right!? Speaking to The Guardian, Zanetti made reference to the fact that by banning burkinis the French government is isolating a large portion of their female society because they falsely believe that these burkinis don’t fit with so-called french values: “Also, what are the French values? What do you mean it doesn’t combine with French values, what does that mean? Liberty? You telling us what to wear, you telling us what not to do will drive women back into their homes – what do you want us to do then?”, she said.
One thing is for sure; the internet has certainly responded in force to the innocent woman on the packed Nice beach being stripped of her modesty. We love these provoking illustration by artists Contemporary Bart, Amy Clancy, and La Sauvage Jaune that highlights the indecency of women and how, it seems, that we can do no right.