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France Burkini Ban How the French government is oppressing Muslim women

France, a strictly secular state has placed several restrictions on women's dressing, bans that specifically affect and target Muslim women.

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Woman forced to take off her clothes in France play

Woman forced to take off her clothes in France


For decades, men have been obsessed with women’s bodies and the way they dress, and the situation is yet to improve.

I am yet to hear any regulatory laws for men’s dressings, but everywhere, there are restrictions on women’s dressings.

Islamic dressing play

Islamic dressing


I can’t even begin to talk about the number of rape cases that were justified with “Oh. She was wearing a mini skirt, she asked for it.”

Or they tell you that men can’t control their urges, and so you should do your best not to provoke them. I thought it was animals that are incapable of controlling their urges, sexual or otherwise, and not fully grown men.

Often, when regulations and restrictions are placed on women’s bodies, it is for the benefit of men, and not for the protection of women themselves.

The Indian government just announced that female tourists should avoid skirts for ‘safety’ reasons. A reasonable government should address the issue of her countrymen who behave like wild animals upon seeing women.

ALSO READ: "Don't wear skirts for your own safety" - Tourism minister

Now the French ban on burkinis is yet another restriction on women’s dressings. One country wants women to cover up, another wants them to bare it all.

For women, it seems to be a case of ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’. So, like we say in local parlance, women are just thinking ‘kuku kill us.’

The French law claims to be promoting and enforcing their secularity, but in so doing, it has hindered the rights of a certain group of people- Muslim women.

For Muslim women, they are commanded to do so by the dictates of their religion, and everyone is free to have a religion.

 “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women” Quran 24:31

No, it doesn't matter whether there are Muslim women who don’t cover. Muslim women are required, by the holy books they believe in to cover their bodies. That some don’t do it doesn’t mean that those who are willing to do it should be stopped.

Also, the key word here is choice. They choose to be Muslim, they choose to cover up. So why take away that choice in the name of secularism?

Yes, there are some regions, especially those controlled by the Taliban and ISIS that women are forced to cover up. But this is wrong on every level.

And again, that some people are forced to do it does not mean that those who WANT to do it should be forced.

And if the Taliban, a terrorist organization, is forcing some women to cover up, then how different is the France government for forcing them to unveil themselves?

There is no difference; it is simply a coercion of women, taking away their choices in something as simple as how they want to dress themselves.

It is appalling that a country who sits on a moral high ground, who wants to prove how modern and secular they are, is no different than misguided terrorists who force women to shroud themselves in black.

Taking away a woman’s right to dress as she pleases is not noble, it is disgusting and retrogressive, an irony in itself for a country who prides itself on being progressive.

France, a strictly secular state, imposed a fine of up to 150 Euros for noncompliance with the law that says you must not cover your face or wear outfits that have religious connotations. This law targets both the burqa and the burkini.

Though the law was challenged on the grounds that it hampers religious freedom, in 2014 the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) upheld the ban, which had been adopted since 2011.

Woman wearing burkini at the beach play

Woman wearing burkini at the beach



There are nude beaches in France, so the question is, if women are free to walk in the nude, why can’t they have that same freedom to cover themselves up from head to toe?

Does France’s secularism only extend to women who want to be naked and is in complete opposition to those who do not want to?

Woman forced to take off her clothes in France play

Woman forced to take off her clothes in France



A photo showing armed police officers forcing a woman to remove her clothing at a beach in Nice went viral recently, sparking worldwide criticisms, protests and debates about the issue both online and in the streets.

The Deputy Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi denounced the photo, claiming that it puts the officers in danger.

The only danger I see here though, is a woman staring down the barrel of a gun and asked to take off her clothes. She is the one in danger, not the officers who have infringed on her rights as a human being and humiliated her.

Some women want to swim or enjoy a beach holiday, and they want to do it without exposing their hair, thighs and breasts, hence the burkini.

Woman in a burkini play

Woman in a burkini



The burkini is a swim suit that covers every part of a woman’s body except her face, hands and feet.  Over 30 French towns have banned the garment because apparently, it is a crime to want to swim without leaving your hair and thighs exposed.

Burkini clad woman at the pool play

Burkini clad woman at the pool



The same way some women prefer two or three-piece swim suits to one piece suits, is the same way some women, especially Muslim women, favour the burkini.

Muslim or not, some women aren’t comfortable with nudity or exposed parts of their bodies, while others are very comfortable with it. It all boils down to differences in choices and being able to exercise one’s choice.

No, not every woman in a hijab or burqa is enslaved, oppressed and wants to be ‘liberated’. If anything, you insistence that they remove their veils is the oppression that they are fighting.

A woman hijab is not enslaved play

A woman hijab is not enslaved



We need to stop pushing this narrative that Muslim women who cover up are forced to do so, or that they are doing it for the benefit of men, to stop men from being ‘tempted’.

Why it is a crime to cover your own body up, defies logic and sound reasoning. How does a woman who covers her hair and parts of her face hurt anybody else?

How does what a woman decides to clothe her own body in become a topic of national discourse? Why should a woman be told what parts of her body she must cover and what parts she must not?

On Friday, August 26, 2016, the highest administrative court in France ruled that mayors do not have the right to ban burkinis, and suspended the ban.  

Despite the court ruling, several French mayors have continued to uphold the ban, defying court orders.

The Prime Minister, Manuel Valls and former President, Nicolas Sarkozy, who plans to run for the office again, are in full support of the bans.  

According the Valls the burkini is a "symbol of the enslavement of women” while Sarkozy said wearing it is a "provocation."

France police forcing woman to take off her clothes play

French police forcing woman to take off her clothes



It seems to me that every sensible human being would agree that a woman surrounded by guns and forced to take off her clothes by men who are backed by the full extent of the law is what enslavement and provocation looks like.

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