Here
and
Now

opinions

The burkini, the veil, the niqab: what French law says

88 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2016 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

88 Comments
Login to comment

Re the fired engineer, Bougnaoui, in photos she is wearing head-covering but her face is uncovered. One wonders what sort of 'interaction' Micropole was looking for with its client, that a veil would have interfered with.

Neck-kisses?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/13/european-court-backs-french-women-sacked-hijab-asma-bougnaoui

... Bougnaoui, who had worked for Micropole for a year, was fired without prior warning. After she had travelled to a meeting with clients at a big French insurance firm in Toulouse, the insurance firm complained to her superiors that her headscarf had “embarrassed” some of its staff working with her. The insurance company also demanded “no headscarf next time”. ... Micropole had said it felt her wearing a headscarf hindered the company’s development because it meant the company could not properly interact with its client. ...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I understood that Muslim garb was banned for safety reasons. I can certainly sympathize with the French who believed this necessary after the many attacks on their peaceful enjoyment in their own country. What is the body count in France? How many bombings by radicalized Muslims have there been around the world done by explosives worn under Muslim style clothing!? Can you not imagine an "obese" or "pregnant" woman in a so-called Burkini carrying not fat or baby but explosives?! The French have endured so much already, should they not be excused for understanding that they are at risk, possibly even at the beach.?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Somebody walks around covering their body with a tent and their head with a hood and a mask, have to wonder what they are hiding.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Some countries are held to a higher standard, and those countries have every right to say their country is better than others - that's why they're held to a higher standard

0 ( +0 / -0 )

One ought to respect the customs of their host country.

The custom is to wear what you want at the beach, just like nuns do.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I have gone back and forth on this over the years..

Is it religious bigotry? Not sure I would agree. Religion isn't a race, it is a set of ideas put into practice and, not all ideas are acceptable in practice in a forward thinking society, though you are welcome all you want to think them.

This more extreme and conservative dress style is relatively recent, and if you want to participate in the public sphere I believe you have a social contract, and one of those values in western society is not to disguise oneself.

In any case anything that would be conservative dress I can't really say much about, and even a hat or scarf, but this attempt to cover women all but a tiny hole for their eyes reeks of misogynistic expressions of power over women.

I read a story recently about young women organising women only school balls or proms, so they didn't have to wear head coverings/very conservative religious clothing and could dress as they pleased.. I felt so sorry for them as they described how free they felt to express who they were in the safety of this environment.. They should be able feel free and safe all the time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

One ought to respect the customs of their host country

This isn't the custom of the country, it's religious bigotry. And their courts have said its wrong.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

One ought to respect the customs of their host country.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Other countries have no right to tell another what they should allow.

On the contrary, countries have every right to tell another what they should or shouldn't allow. Same as those countries have a right to ignore what the other country is telling them.

Whether a country should tell another country what they should allow or not is a different question.

France has its own culture and should not be forced to incorporate another culture into their own.

No one is forcing France to do anything. France is a sovereign nation.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Countries have a right to what they allow. Other countries have no right to tell another what they should allow. Also, women in the Middle East are not allowed to wear nail varnish, and no one is challenging the law for rights. So why are people challenging for wearing a veil in the courts? France has its own culture and should not be forced to incorporate another culture into their own.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Typical of left wing socialist politicians. They have violent Muslim male insurgents running around France raping, burning, assaulting, robbing and rioting yet the leftvwing governments are more focused on the attire of Muslim women.

And now the national courts have ruled the bans to be unconstitutional.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think a bikini is way better than a burkini.

That really depends on the person wearing it.

Otherwise, this is all I have to say about it.

http://mistie710.livejournal.com/129181.html

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's a simple question. Do you think religious beliefs deserve special privilege? I have political heroes. One is John Rawls. If someone drew an unflattering cartoon of him, I wouldn't regard it at the same level as using the n-word. I'd regard it as a difference of opinion.

It depends on what you mean by special privilege. I believe that people have the right to believe whatever they want. I don't believe that society has to respect those beliefs, nor do I feel that the law has to enforce those beliefs.

For example, people can believe abortion is wrong, and that homosexuals should not have the right to marry. But I have the right to ridicule those beliefs, and I don't feel that the law should enforce those beliefs, since they are oppressive of other rights.

It's a simple question. Do you think religious beliefs deserve special privilege? I have political heroes. One is John Rawls. If someone drew an unflattering cartoon of him, I wouldn't regard it at the same level as using the n-word. I'd regard it as a difference of opinion.

That's your right to feel that way, same as it's the right of a Muslim to be offended by a drawing of Mohammad. I don't feel that there should be laws to restrict the drawing of Mohammad though, and I feel that we should have the right to point out how irrational that belief is.

And in relation to using the n-word - as far as I'm concerned, it's just a word, and we all remember the children's adage about sticks and stones. But I also feel that black people have the right to be offended by the use of that word, and others have the right to tell them that they feel it's ok to use that word.

But often in life, there is another level beyond 'rights', and that's 'reality'. People should have the right to draw Mohammad. People should have the right to use the n-word. But the reality is that doing so will sometimes get you killed. If you feel strongly enough about doing these things that you are willing to be killed for them, then go ahead. I personally don't see the ROI in doing either of them however, so you wouldn't see me doing either of them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A good move to ban the burkini. Europe needs to grow a pair and assertively deal with the festering cancer that is Islam.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Typical of left wing socialist politicians. They have violent Muslim male insurgents running around France raping, burning, assaulting, robbing and rioting yet the leftvwing governments are more focused on the attire of Muslim women.

Not sure what you're on about. The burkini bans get much more support from the nativist right. And these are not national laws; they're ordinances put in place by local governments.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Strangerland

You are being very unusually evasive here. I'm not asking how strongly you feel.

It's a simple question. Do you think religious beliefs deserve special privilege? I have political heroes. One is John Rawls. If someone drew an unflattering cartoon of him, I wouldn't regard it at the same level as using the n-word. I'd regard it as a difference of opinion.

If you think religious opinion deserves privileged status, just say it. Lots of people who are religious or non-religious believe this.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The benefit to drawing Mohammad is the benefit of defying any 'blaspheme' law:

It asserts the primacy of secularism.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It's not that I'm being vague, it's that I don't have a strong opinion on whether its the same or not. The fact that either could get you killed for no good reason, makes them similar. But I feel anger against using the n-word has more basis in realty than drawing a picture of Mohammad. But the I also don't see any benefit to drawing Mohammad, nor using the n-word. So they are similar in that way as well.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

"I just wonder if you'd be prepared to say that satire of a political figure is equivalent to using the n-word."

"I don't know if they are equivalent, but both of them could potentially get you killed."

Unusually vague from you. It's pretty simple. You seem to regard satire of a religious figure as equivalent to using the n-word. I'm just asking if you regard criticism and ridicule of a political figure in the same way. I'd add that the figure of Mohammed is very relevant to understanding Islam and Islamism.

If ridicule of a political figure you disagreed with resulted in violence, would you accept the reticence of the press to deal with it?

It is a difficult question and I'm just wondering where you stand.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I just wonder if you'd be prepared to say that satire of a political figure is equivalent to using the n-word.

I don't know if they are equivalent, but both of them could potentially get you killed.

No, they aren't creating more alienation, it is the Muslim population which alienates itself when it decides not to conform to the culture of the country to which they have immigrated.

Most immigrants usually feel the way you do. It's their children who radicalize. Look at how many of the recent terrorist attacks in the US and France happened by citizens of said countries who were born there. And the children have not immigrated, they are citizens living in their own countries.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Strangerland

It can be argued that Mohammed and his example are a key component in Islamism. He was a military leader who created an Islamic State through many bloodbaths. I don't think Mohammed can be seen as an irrelevance here given how he is revered.

Very crude satire of important figures is a French tradition. Charlie Hebdo hammered religious figures and politicians non-stop. It was religiously motivated people, Islamists, who mowed the staff down with military grade weapons.

I just wonder if you'd be prepared to say that satire of a political figure is equivalent to using the n-word. I don't give any special status to religious belief. I'm sure you don't either.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Typical of left wing socialist politicians. They have violent Muslim male insurgents running around France raping, burning, assaulting, robbing and rioting yet the leftvwing governments are more focused on the attire of Muslim women. Socialist politicians are the same everywhere, do nothing about real problems they cause, make laws with zero relevance and abuse segments of the population doing nothing and can't defend themselves all while allowing violent criminals to operate unchecked and with impunity.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

It certainly stopped the vast majority of major news outlets reprinting or showing the images which caused offence.

It's a hard thing - stand up for your rights and potentially get murdered by thin-skinned terrorists, or give in and not stand up for your ideals.

Personally, I wouldn't put my staff to that risk in the same position, although it would bother me to not stand up for my ideals. But the other side of it is that while it's absolutely ridiculous that people would kill over a drawing of Mohammad, what purpose does drawing him really serve? It reminds me of my black friend telling me about a white guy who was complaining to him that white people "can't" use the n-word. My friend's theory was 'why would you want to?'.

I don't see the ROI of drawing pictures of Mohammad to be worth the risk inherent in doing so. But if I were a single cartoonist, with a strong enough conviction about the matter, I like to think that I would push it myself.

As I say, it's a difficult thing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

But in doing so, they're creating more alienation of the Muslim population in their country,

No, they aren't creating more alienation, it is the Muslim population which alienates itself when it decides not to conform to the culture of the country to which they have immigrated. Turkey (a Muslim country) banned the wearing of veils in the time of Ataturk, and the ban didn't seem to alienate the population.

If I am a Christian, I am certainly not going to immigrate to a Muslim country and expect them to accept my practicing my faith publicly. And because I know that practicing my religion is going to offend the native culture, I have two options, either stop practicing my religion, or not immigrating to a Muslim country.

Having come to Japan, I have adapted to the rules and customs here. I try not to alienate myself by acting too "foreign" when meeting people for business or pleasure. Though I am not buddhist or shinto, I have no problem visiting a temple or shrine to celebrate a wedding, birth, or other event. If I found the culture and religious practices of Japan offensive to my personal beliefs, or incompatible with my own religion, I would never have come here. And now that I am here, I don't expect Japan to make any exceptions for my culture or religion, I don't have that right, and they don't have that responsibility.

To those who can't adapt to or tolerate European or American culture or religious practices, please leave, and go back to where you came from.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I think a bikini is way better than a burkini.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"I remember it was pointed out that nobody would dare try 'Islam, the musical' as they did with Mormonism. The reason of course would be the very real threat of violence"

"That hasn't stopped the cartoonists - as it shouldn't. If/when you give in to the fear, you lose."

It certainly stopped the vast majority of major news outlets reprinting or showing the images which caused offence. They did show images of mayhem in reaction to these cartoons. Perhaps they made the decision after viewing the images of violence and fury. Understandable, I suppose, but would you regard that as having given in to fear and intimidation? I think it was Ms. Zahn on CNN who admitted on air that the decision not to show the cartoons was partly out of fear for the safety of its staff and a sensitivity to Muslim feeling. Call me a cynic but my money would be on the first as the main cause.

I think it's undeniable that fear of violent consequences plays a role in dealing with Muslim sensibilities. This is something I'm very uneasy about. I think the media and governments share this unease.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Think abt it - it's a cultural norm dress code for the beach. And we are justifiably worried abt ONE religious group being driven to terrorism a a result. Because it doesn't take much - or anything at all.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Thanks for the heads-up, Cleo.

Link below. (Not safe for work if you live in Saudi Arabia.)

http://forward.com/sisterhood/348382/seriously-what-orthodox-women-wear-to-the-beach-is-no-different-from-a-burk/

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Goldorak, interesting post. i notice that part of the reasoning for pro - burkini posters here is fear of radical (ie, deadly) backlash. nobody would suggest such a problem from the christian, jewish, hindu, sikh, etc community. such is the extent to which we have been conditioned to accept the likelihood of such behavior from islam.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

nessie, you posted the same link twice. Where are the hussies with the unbuttoned necks?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

There's a reason France is a prime target of Islamic extremists; hate, fear, intolerance, and tolerance and love are all two way streets.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

" I'm shocked that so few posters don't see the problem with dictating dress codes as a response to dictated dress codes."

Although what you say makes sense nessie I still dont think you fully understand what the french mean by that: its not 'only' about dress code but what's behind it, what it represents for women etc (rightly or wrongly), the proselytizing aspect of the burkini (in their eyes).

A few years ago my boss sent a xmas card to all his employees. Nothing wrong with that except that the words he wrote and card he chose were imo overly religious and proselytist. Most ppl felt ok about it, I as an atheist, didn't like it and I imagine it was the same for Muslims, Jews etc. I saw the card as a statement and I think many french also see the burkini as a statement. i do believe that religion is a private matter and everything should be done to keep it 'at home'.

Again, I dunno if I am for or against the ban (philosophically I guess I am for it, but I think in the current situation it adds fuel to the fire and endanger the french themselves, muslims or not, so sticking to their guns is a massive risk that the french govt is taking).

2 ( +3 / -1 )

When in Rome, do as the Romans.

Heh! Toga party!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

We're really on the same page this week, Stranger. It's sad to see how quickly people abandon principles like equality under the law and freedom of conscience.

Lest anyone think the law is being applied equally, here are some nuns in full-penguin at a French beach...

http://globalnews.ca/news/2903036/people-share-photos-of-nuns-on-the-beach-in-response-to-burkini-ban-in-france/

...And some veiled Christian Orthodox women at a French beach. (Although you'll notice these hussies have one button open at the neck.)

http://globalnews.ca/news/2903036/people-share-photos-of-nuns-on-the-beach-in-response-to-burkini-ban-in-france/

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I remember it was pointed out that nobody would dare try 'Islam, the musical' as they did with Mormonism. The reason of course would be the very real threat of violence

That hasn't stopped the cartoonists - as it shouldn't. If/when you give in to the fear, you lose.

Although to be fair, if you get murdered for some cartoons or a musical, I guess you kind of lose as well. But it does turn you into a martyr of sorts.

Because the answer to religious irrationality and authoritarianism is Enlightenment rationality and freedom, rather than secular irrationality and authoritarianism.

We have a winner! Some people don't seem to realize that fighting hate with hate simply begets more hate. It's a never ending cycle.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

So why should French locals tolerate Islamic wear on their beach?

Because the answer to religious irrationality and authoritarianism is Enlightenment rationality and freedom, rather than secular irrationality and authoritarianism.

If France wants to be more like Saudi Arabia and dictate public behavior even when no-one is infringing on anyone else's ability to enjoy life, it won't end well. I'm shocked that so few posters don't see the problem with dictating dress codes as a response to dictated dress codes.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"I haven't claimed otherwise. But that's not going to stop me from criticizing the rule as discriminatory, and to point out how it's actually counter-active to their goal of not having more terrorist attacks (if that's their actual goal)."

I agree with that but it does make me uneasy if I think about it another way. The ban on religious symbols doesn't just apply to Muslims but I get the sense people are particularly afraid that offending or insulting members of this religion will lead to violent consequences. I actually have some sympathy with members of other religions who point out that less restraint is used when offending their religious beliefs ( I remember it was pointed out that nobody would dare try 'Islam, the musical' as they did with Mormonism. The reason of course would be the very real threat of violence ).

It gives me a feeling of treading on eggshells around someone with a hair-trigger temper. Not a comfortable way of living.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What I find funny is that France now decides they are going to fight the terrorist, isn't this the country that used to invite terrorist on the run to come and live in France...

And the way to fight terrorism is to make women who practice a religion that states they hide their bodies, so they even invent a swimwear that they can go to the beach and enjoy the water on a hot day...

and this is what France is doing to fight terrorism...

It's like locking the car but leaving all the windows open, you're not solving the problem at all...

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

They used to ban bikinis. Now they are banning burkinis. Reasons are similar: inciting anti-social behaviour (ie. turning men on too much for their own good and more recently inciting terrorism).

With lawmakers like the ones who institute these bans, who really would want to be a woman at a public beach. Much more fun being a man, and a man would have been more likely the power to be banning something or other anyway.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And you talk to the former Vietnamese refugees who lived in the same Banlieue as poor non-whites, but quickly rose in French society to join the professional class.

Roughly 350,000 Vietnamese in France, one of the oldest foreign community in France and yet a vast majority working in Chinese restaurants, not sure how many how them climbed the social ladder to C-level positon in major organization but you can't really compare

Or talk to the non-Muslim Africans who are NOT putting bombs on airplanes or shooting up rock concerns in the name of their god. I am also talking about them (and "normal Muslims" but our government and media put them in the sames bag as suicide bombers, you can understand they get pissed off. Not sure of your ethnicity but let's say you're a white male would like like to be affiliated to the KKK based on your skin color or religion only?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm very happy with France and its ban on the veil. It has no place in modern western society. There is to me a difference in wearing a rashguard or wearing a veil or burkini at the beach.

If I was to go to Iran, or Saudi arabia, or any Islamic country with sharia law, I would have to cover up with clothing I don't necessarily agree with. If Muslims go to western countries, then they should have to integrate and follow the local customs and rules. I don't understand why Muslims think their own religious beliefs can trump French law? Of course they should not.

They are welcome to return to the Middle East any time they wish if they don't like living in France.

Very much a case of "when in Rome" in my opinions. The same reason why I don't go trapsing through Japanese houses with my shoes on, or turning up to onsens with an armful of irizumi.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

France is France and they have every right to make their own rules.

I haven't claimed otherwise. But that's not going to stop me from criticizing the rule as discriminatory, and to point out how it's actually counter-active to their goal of not having more terrorist attacks (if that's their actual goal).

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@JeffLee can you please give me your source?

Gladly

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/terrorism-threat-report-1.3735434

"If you think they are mean too us because we are too nice with them go talk with Arabs in France and see how easy they can land a job compare to a white guy."

And you talk to the former Vietnamese refugees who lived in the same Banlieue as poor non-whites, but quickly rose in French society to join the professional class. Or talk to the non-Muslim Africans who are NOT putting bombs on airplanes or shooting up rock concerns in the name of their god.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Solid points Strangerland.... but France is France and they have every right to make their own rules. You can disagree all you want, but fact of the matter is that they have the human right to make their own rules. Many other countries to ridicule over horrendous rules, this law is really mild if you think about it. It is a bit odd as nudity is norm, but covering up is a no no...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

You know I come here and talk quietly and advise my friends to not go out with their tattoo sleeves fully on display and all that just to show respect... I don't expect Japan to be like me even though in their constitution they guarantee me liberty, equality, and fraternity. But if you want a bunch of guys to come from the African bush and run around with penis guords downtown and claim it's their right then woo hoo to you.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@JeffLee can you please give me your source?

it is reporting a 30 percent rise this year in Muslims headed overseas to fight for ISIS. How many people that make?

If you listen to the youth in France from interview and documentaries it clearly suck from them to be Muslim in their country, police controls are way more frequent for them, they get harassed by the media/police/bigots/racist/etc daily most of them are normal people with kids, a job, friends, social life. Some of them decide to fight to show what Muslims are by promoting peace, universality, helping each other between communities, being normal citizens where no one should care about your religion. Others just ignore the media and politics and live their faith privately and a huge minority will go nuts (even if they were not Muslim but from Muslim culture only). If you think they are mean too us because we are too nice with them go talk with Arabs in France and see how easy they can land a job compare to a white guy.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Also think that the French govt and many French people are puzzled/scared/disappointed by burkini's timing, i.e 'why now and not 50, 25 or even 5 years ago'? In some ways it looks like French Muslims feel 'more' Muslim in 2016 than they or their parents in the 80s and that's a problem (or so they think).

In the 1980s, the vast majority of Muslim teens didn't wear a veil at school, all kids, male and female, were playing together, you could see their Mums unveiled in their own home. The only difference between Muslim kids and others was that a different menu (halal, no pork etc) was provided at the school canteen, same with Ramadan. I think many non Muslim French feel that Muslims in 2016 France are now 'more Muslim than French' and that scares them.

We also need to keep in mind that France has always been very close to Islamic nations: strongly pro Palestinian (n1 among all western nations and have often been accused of being anti-Semitic by Israel and their 'anglo' allies), French presidents have often had close ties with Muslim leaders/ even dictators (Chirac was the only western head of state to attend Hafes Al-Assad funerals) something other western leaders have often complained about etc.

That's why I don't think France has a problem with Islam itself as some suggest on this thread but rather with the way 'some' French Muslims are currently living their faith that's why they see the burkini as a statement i.e "that's who we are whether you like it or not. Deal with it'.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Kakukakushikajika

”Au contraire, I think they do,”

I've just been reading about Canada. Despite a raft of that country's open-minded, accepting, "enlightened" and inclusive policies toward Muslims, it is reporting a 30 percent rise this year in Muslims headed overseas to fight for ISIS.

The killers of 7 Japanese in Dhaka and 10 Japanese of Morroco included Canadian militant terrorists. Again, zero correlation between social policies at home and radicalization levels. France is on the right track.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

just this morning I helped a muslim guy (full beard, muslim attires) and his wife (that veil you can only see the eyes) with their stroller all the way up in the subway, both probably didn't speak japanese and thanked me in english. The problem is not the people, but I understand what the frenchpeople are been through. I don't feel unsafe around muslims in Japan but again they are the minority of the minorities here.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Easy going, laissez-faire societies like the UK and Tunisia churn out huge numbers of Jihadis. Social policies have notthing to do with it.

Au contraire, I think they do, France and UK have strict immigration policies way harsher than Japan. By pointing out and isolating all Muslims (5 Millions of them in France) as the reason for terrorism, violence, unemployment, taking advantage on benefits and not willing to fully integrate you give extremist Imams and Preachers strong argument on why she should hate the west and their own country and why they should go to Syria to train and come back to bomb their own people. There is a law each year maybe more only for one group of people again 5 Millions, the attack of Paris was executed by less than 10 "new born" Muslims.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

MajiKayo: Do as the Romans? At which period in their history? When they crucified christians and threw them to the lions?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"Arabs are much more tolerated in the west than westerners are tolerated in Arab countries."

Let's stay with religion rather than talking about Arabs. Do you really want the west to be as intolerant as backward, theocratic hellholes? France is a secular country and one of the goals of secular government as I understand it is that no religion is privileged - all are treated equally. I don't want the west to become a place where followers of a religion are relegated to a lower status and not tolerated.

It's depressing to see women covered up for religious reasons in 21st century France but I don't see how a ban on this or other religious garb is effective in promoting secular values ( the completely covered face is another issue ). If France wants to see something to get really offended about, take a trip across the water to the UK where you can find Sharia courts in operation.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

France established its clearly defined principles of secularism over a 100 years ago in its body of laws. If newcomers don't like it, tough. They can chose another country to go live in.

"and that's the type of thing that pushes people to radicalize"

All sorts of Muslims from all walks of life in all parts of the world radicalize. Rich, poor, middle class, African, European, Middle Eastern. Easy going, laissez-faire societies like the UK and Tunisia churn out huge numbers of Jihadis. Social policies have notthing to do with it.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

One big reason French locals should tolerate Islamic wear, even though that tolerance is not reciprocated by certain other countries, is because France's national motto is "liberty, equality, fraternity,"

The way these words are interpreted in France is very different from places like the UK or America, and I think greatly misunderstood. Equality is actually the basis for the secular state in France. It's interpreted very radically to mean that no French citizen can have any special standing over any other citizen in the eyes of the state or even God. This is why ostentatious displays of religious affiliation are seen as being so provocative.

In the case of the burkini, equality means that no French citizen can claim that dressing 'modestly' grants them any special privileges, favours, blessings (with Allah or otherwise) over any other French citizen. But this is precisely the message burkini/burqa/niqab/veil wearers are implicitly sending to their fellow citizens who choose not to cover up.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

 "and I am pissed off that out government is now proving otherwise to follow their own private agenda."

Kaku, I really don't think they are following any agenda. On the contrary I would say they are trying too hard to stick with what ''being french' means i.e laicite/secularism on a social, ethical and philosophical level.

Thing is, as a few have already said, this measure is imo counter productive and endangers french ppl themselves.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

One big reason French locals should tolerate Islamic wear, even though that tolerance is not reciprocated by certain other countries, is because France's national motto is "liberty, equality, fraternity," and abiding by that motto has long been one of its strengths. France should aim to be better than those countries in the Middle East, and not to become as oppressive as they are.

I agree fully.

However your view is more about being politically correct on a personal basis than on how tens of millions need to behave in order to respect and live together.

How so? I'm speaking of tolerance - a requirement for tens of millions to be able to live together effectively. That's not PC, that's a fact of humanity.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@Strangerland

I think you have good points cause I agree with you on a lot of things. However your view is more about being politically correct on a personal basis than on how tens of millions need to behave in order to respect and live together., so I can't really agree with you here.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

If you go to the Middle East your dress code, food, and drink will not be tolerated by the locals. So why should French locals tolerate Islamic wear on their beach?

@thepersoniamnow

One big reason French locals should tolerate Islamic wear, even though that tolerance is not reciprocated by certain other countries, is because France's national motto is "liberty, equality, fraternity," and abiding by that motto has long been one of its strengths. France should aim to be better than those countries in the Middle East, and not to become as oppressive as they are.

I hold France to a much higher standard than many of the non-democratic nations of the Middle East. I also hold other developed democracies such as those in Europe, the English speaking world, Japan and certain other countries in Asia to a higher standard as well.

One other thought, I would like to see a group of women in burkinis together with a group of women in nun's habits visit one of these French beaches and see how the authorities react.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Black Sabbath I agree, less freedom in the name of freedom is ridiculous

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I realize that this is discrimination, however not everything is about being politically correct and not offending anyone all the time.

I'm one of the least politically correct people you will ever meet. I have a rough, raunchy sense of humor that has put a lot of people off me in my life.

But discrimination is wrong, plain and simple.

You must also respect the view of the locals

So do you think that gender discrimination and other discriminatory practices in the middle east are ok because they are local? Sorry, but I'll condemn discrimination no matter where it exists.

Again, if you flip the scenerio, if tens of thousands of westerners went to Saudi Arabia and wore bikinis, drank booze, and hooked up with each other, would they be tolerated?

These are different issues. The complaints about the burqini are based on religious discrimination. If they weren't, then you would see the French harassing nuns and scuba suit wearers as much as the burqini wearers. Bikinis, booze and hooking up in public being frowned upon in the middle east is not discrimination based on religion, it's a set of rules against what is considered to be proper behavior in public, and is irrelevant of religion. If the Middle Easterners were only condemning bikinis, booze and PDA for Christians, while allowing it for Muslims, then it would be just as bad. But they disallow these things for all people, their own included.

Arabs are much more tolerated in the west than westerners are tolerated in Arab countries.

Ahh, so it's ok to discriminate against someone, because someone else somewhere else in the world is discriminating even more? Sorry, but I don't buy that argument.

Maybe in your perfect world everything runs smoothly and PC like, but in times of war their are two sets of people to appease.

By falling into the belief that this is a war, you have let the terrorists win.

Interesting...If radicalism is there only recourse, then should they be living in a free and open society?

Radicalism is not the only recourse, and many people protest peacefully rather than radically.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Interesting...If radicalism is there only recourse, then should they be living in a free and open society?

I am not saying this, I am just saying it might create a situation where they will not feel French anymore or welcome (I am referring to French Muslims leaving in France for generations and generations and who are not necessary wear burqas). When your own people and government is telling you you are not welcome in your own country how would you react? Leave? To where they are French born in France with parents and grand parents born in France for a huge part. Some will react by adopting an extreme attitude. Tell your kid no candy, he will want candy even more. OK we have laicite in France but we also have freedom of religion, I am a Catholic by education and I have no issue with any other sign of religion (except for burqa and niqab). This law is racist and stigmatizing. What happen to people on the beach with a tattoo of the Christ or a Cross or the Virgin Marie??? You ban them as well? France has a problem with Islam not religion period.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

When in Rome, do as the Romans.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

A poll out yesterday shows that a whopping 64% of French people support banning the burkini, 30% don't care one way or another, and only 6% oppose the ban. Which is more likely: Those 64% are all racist Islamophobes, or as citizens of the French Republic they have a significantly better understanding of how Laïcité should be applied than some internet commentators? We will find out later today whether the ban is constitutional. If it is, we should respect democracy and let people in France set the laws they wish to live by.

http://www.lefigaro.fr/politique/2016/08/24/01002-20160824ARTFIG00276-une-majorite-de-francais-opposee-au-port-du-burkini-sur-les-plages.php

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Kaku ----------

No we shouldn't in theory should we as that would be a step back in western mentality. But humans are the same everywhere in that they appreciate respect and solidarity with their people and their nation. Again you choose to victimize the burka, but you fail to recognize the feelings of those people who have suffered by foreigners who hurt their country.

Also a burka on a beach is a bit of a joke. I grew up in the Middle East by the way. Something tells me that people wearing a Burka on the beach is a bit odd and provocative. In some countries there is a clear point on Assimilation into the culture that you are choosing to immigrate to before you receive your papers.

Anyways like I said, I don't agree with either parties, but I do get where they are coming from and I'm not gunna run around yelling that it's Racist and or black and white either, cause it's not.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I don't want to end up red, sore and peeling. (Been there, done that, never again) When I go swimming in the sea I wear a swimsuit that covers my skin from neck to knees, a long-sleeved rash guard and >>leggings that cover my skin from waist to toes. That allows me to stay in the open all day, without fear of needing medical attention and hopefully reducing the risk of skin >>cancer at some point in the future. And I would not be allowed on a French beach?

The law has just been updated for covering the new sign of religion, it is all about the principle of ‘laicite’ or secularism, wearing a swimsuit covering your body is fine, it does not scream and impose your religion in the face of everybody, don't get it wrong.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Of course if it's winter time in Canada we all wear balaclava's so niqab/burka comparisons are moot at that time, but we at least take them off when indoors. It can't really be banned but they should be discouraged as being anti social. Nothing in Islam says women need to cover up, it's entirely a cultural notion from the middle ages from the domination of men. In a free country it simply has no place and should be widely discouraged. Like racism or ageism.

Also lots of phrases in languages that deal with face. Facetime. Losing Face. Face up to something. Face off. Face the music. Even our brains devotes a lot of processing to managing faces. We need to free those people not yell at them. And if they don't want to be free then we don't need to allow their immigration. Simple

I'm fine with Birkini and hiqab as the face is clearly visible and the notion of religious respect can be shared. Anything after that, it loses

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Dividing the population will only increase radicalism and isolate a whole part of French population.

Interesting...If radicalism is there only recourse, then should they be living in a free and open society?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

@thepersoniamnow So we should adopt the same attitude as Saudi Arabia? I am proud and happy that Arab are respected and tolerated in France and I am pissed off that out government is now proving otherwise to follow their own private agenda.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Poor France, indeed. But not because of the burkini ban.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@Strangerland

I realize that this is discrimination, however not everything is about being politically correct and not offending anyone all the time. You must also respect the view of the locals not be a millennial mentally and run around thinking you should get your way the time anytime. Again, if you flip the scenerio, if tens of thousands of westerners went to Saudi Arabia and wore bikinis, drank booze, and hooked up with each other, would they be tolerated? Arabs are much more tolerated in the west than westerners are tolerated in Arab countries. Maybe in your perfect world everything runs smoothly and PC like, but in times of war their are two sets of people to appease. A French man or women have the right to not see a bunch of burkas just as much as a Saudi man or woman has the right to not see a bikini.

Both are being ridiculous from my point of view btw.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Poor France (my home country) falling into the terrorist trap head first. Could not agree more with Strangerland Dividing the population will only increase radicalism and isolate a whole part of French population. France has always been bad at handling immigration, promoting an assimilation model but in reality creating ghettos of immigrants in our suburban areas. Our government only has next election in April 2017 in sight and they are addressing an issue which did not exist last year. I am wondering how people are wearing burkini on the beach ( a few hundreds at most and will be much more in the future after this fuss) and we make headline news and are (rightfully so) ridiculed in the world for our attitude. We have real issues in France about unemployment, tax evasion, social security, education but no!! Terrorism, insecurity that will get the vote from the bigot!

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

strangerland, no no, that would be "driving them into the arms of ISIS", right?

Maybe some of them. But there is a difference between driving someone in that direction by doing the wrong thing (discrimination against them based on the religion of those being complained against) and driving someone in that direction by doing the right thing (refusing to discriminate based on religion).

The former is creating radicals through intolerance, which is creating a risk for no good reason. The latter is creating a risk through tolerance, which creating a risk for very good reason - standing up for the ideals of freedom.

Surely you can see the difference.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Birkini is really the same as a wetsuit, so it's not really a problem.

Hiqab is a funny hat (in a world deep in funny hats) and some are quite smart looking and fashionable. No problem there.

Niqab and Burka etc isn't worthy of any free nation. When you block the face you block your value as a human being and no one can approach you.

I think that's a good representation of a middle ground that would respect where respect is possible and ban where it isn't.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Proof that the law is nothing but official discrimination.

Nuns and Priests wear professional uniforms. Not the same thing.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

When in Rome! Don't expect your host country to bend the rules just to accomodate you and your "religion". Assimilate, or go and live somewhere where it's normal to wear such divisive clothing. May I suggest Saudi Arabia?

10 ( +14 / -4 )

the law imposes an array of restrictions on anything denoting religious affiliation.

Nuns' habits, priests' collars, a kippah, a rosary... are they banned? I wondered about the kippah, did a very quick Google, and found this article from January 2016. http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Wearing-a-Kippah-in-France.html

A quote from it:

[some officials are] recommending that Jewish men “wear a hat on top of their kippah, depending on the situation.” The Chief Rabbi of France, Rabbi Haim Korsia, disagreed, urging French Jews to keep wearing kippot. “It means that we are projecting part of the responsibility on the victim,”... “What is the limit? … Someone who walks in the street on Saturday morning on his way to the synagogue, isn’t it too visibly Jewish? It doesn’t end. And then, some people won’t be allowed to wear a (Christian) cross in the street, to wear such or such religious sign?” he asked.“At some point, we have to defend the model of our society and it is a society of secularism and freedom of religious practice.”

Note they recommend, not enforce.

Cannes' ban on the burkini leaves me fuming, it is a bullying approach, nothing to do with preventing terrorism, increasing safety, supporting secularity or freedom. It is about controlling women's clothing, for women are always an easy target. I hope that these beaches are swamped with women wearing whatever the hell they want, which in my case would include black leggings, a long-sleeved t-shirt, and a cap.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

strangerland, no no, that would be "driving them into the arms of ISIS", right?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

they aren't hassling nuns at the beach

Proof that the law is nothing but official discrimination. What about the 'array of restrictions on anything denoting religious affiliation' in staunchly secular France?

Burkini baaaad, penguin suit gooood?

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

A stance that would/should be condemned just as strongly as this anti-burqini stance.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

and next after their right to wear the oppressive beach burkha is established they will turn their attention to those women not wearing it because they are offended by women wearing normal swim wear.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

So it isn't what I wear but who I am that is the problem?

Bingo. That's why they aren't hassling nuns at the beach who are wearing their... whatever you call the nun clothes.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

You're not Muslim, so no worries.

So it isn't what I wear but who I am that is the problem? Doesn't that flagrantly violate the commitment to the principle of ‘laicite’ or secularism—the separation of Church and state of 'staunchly secular' France? The law discriminates against people according to their religion rather than their action.

It's a dud law. Discriminatory egg on the face of France.

when someone has proven to not be worthy of that respect and actually the cause of terror and mass murder

Links please to reports of incidents of covered-up ladies on the beach being the 'cause of terror and mass murder'.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

And I would not be allowed on a French beach?

You're not Muslim, so no worries.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

I'm not Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist or anything else.

I'm blonde and very pale-skinned.

I burn extremely easily.

I love swimming.

I don't want to end up red, sore and peeling. (Been there, done that, never again)

When I go swimming in the sea I wear a swimsuit that covers my skin from neck to knees, a long-sleeved rash guard and leggings that cover my skin from waist to toes.

That allows me to stay in the open all day, without fear of needing medical attention and hopefully reducing the risk of skin cancer at some point in the future.

And I would not be allowed on a French beach?

I think they're taking things to ridiculous extremes. So long as a person's face is exposed and you can see who they are, what else they wear is their own d@mn business.

Teeny-weeny bikinis, thongs, going topless, huge middle-aged bellies hanging over too-small Speedos are all 'respectful of good morality', and covering up is not? Geddouddahere.

2 ( +12 / -10 )

"How can we understand each other when you're presenting yourself in a personal barricade? People can't communicate closely when one of them is putting up a barrier all the time. There will always be a misunderstanding between people, when it seems like you're hiding from everyone every time you go outside"

That's failed logic. By that reasoning, it would be easiest to talk to someone who is buck naked, since they don't have any barriers at all. Try getting a naked man or woman to walk around and chat with people on the street - the huge majority of people are going to have troubles with it.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

I once saw a debate on PBS where some women were discussing Islamic dress.

One woman put up the debate with the Muslim women when one of them stated why people were not so accepting of their state of dress with the burqa and niqab and one of the Muslim women asked, "Why don't others understand me and accept me for who my am and my personality instead of how I dress?"

And one of the non-Muslim women stated, "How can we understand each other when you're presenting yourself in a personal barricade? People can't communicate closely when one of them is putting up a barrier all the time. There will always be a misunderstanding between people, when it seems like you're hiding from everyone every time you go outside"

Let's just say the pro-burqa/niqab women didn't have an answer for that.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

If you are under attack and in a climate of fear I understand the need to help your populace feel safer.

But in doing so, they're creating more alienation of the Muslim population in their country, and that's the type of thing that pushes people to radicalize. This move is actually increasing the likelihood of more attacks. So it's a false sense of safety they are creating.

why should French locals tolerate Islamic wear on their beach?

Because it has absolutely nothing to do with the problem.

They are doing exactly what the terrorists want, increasing the divide. The more that divide is increased, the easier a time the terrorists have in recruiting.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

If you are under attack and in a climate of fear I understand the need to help your populace feel safer. If you go to the Middle East your dress code, food, and drink will not be tolerated by the locals. So why should French locals tolerate Islamic wear on their beach? This year alone many hundreds of French have been massacred as they relaxed by Islamic fundamentalists. You do not have the right to do whatever you want wherever you go. In a perfect world we would all respect each other but when someone has proven to not be worthy of that respect and actually the cause of terror and mass murder...I hardly think a few moves showing solidarity with French people and their way is that wrong.

21 ( +24 / -3 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites