North Texas Daily

Burqa ban in France is a part of the problem

Burqa ban in France is a part of the problem

August 20
09:43 2016

By Morgan Sullivan

Using terrorism as an excuse, the French mayor of Cannes has banned all women from wearing burkinis on the beach. However, in reality all this law does is prohibit women from wearing what they want while also furthering Islamophobia and xenophobia within Europe.

Burkinis, the swimwear equivalent of burqas, cover everything except a woman’s hands, feet and face. Although traditional burqas do cover faces, another wacky French law from 2010 bans that. These French laws claim that bans keep the country secular, but at its core, the burqa isn’t religious at all. On top of that inaccuracy, it seems ridiculous that we must continue arguing that not all Muslim people are terrorists because there are still people who cannot grasp this concept. Just as not all Christians are the Westboro Baptist Church, not all Muslims are terrorists.

The issue in France is twofold: countries should not be able to ban what people wear in public, and humans fear things that we don’t understand.

It is one belief that wearing the hijab, burqa or niqab is oppressive, but that’s not always the case. Although some countries like Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia require the burqa or niqab, other countries allow women to choose to wear whatever they deem modest. Wearing a burqa isn’t strictly religious. Nowhere in the Quran does it mention that women must wear burqas. It does mention to “dress modestly,” but that is a very subjective phrase. It is more of a cultural thing, just like the way women in Texas wear Nike shorts and oversized shirts.

Women in the past have rebelled against society and authority to change what they were allowed to wear. They fought for shorter skirts and wearing two-piece bathing suits on the beach. The fight has been mostly focused on wearing less clothing, however, the fight for women to wear what they want must go both ways.

Women must stand together and fight to wear what they want – as much or as little clothing as they want. Although the fight has been focused on women wearing less, culturally we must accept those who choose to wear more. It seems a bit silly to think less of someone simply because they choose to wear more clothing than you do.

The ban in France teaches their society to ban things they don’t understand or don’t agree with. Although it’s understandable for the country to be on the offense about terrorism attacks, banning burkinis isn’t the answer. Next, the country will ban the burqa or the hijab. Perhaps after that, they’ll create a uniform for the entire country to wear. Fear mongering does nothing but instill hatred in the hearts of your countrymen. The problem with banning burkinis is that it instills a fear of Muslim women. Women who have done nothing wrong are being punished for the actions of strangers.

“We are not talking about banning the wearing of religious symbols on the beach… But ostentatious clothing which refers to an allegiance to terrorist movements which are at war with us,” said Cannes mayor David Lisnard.

He then noted that the ruling does not ban the Jewish kippah or the cross. Perhaps the most telling part of that statement is the phrase, “ostentatious clothing.” It’s pretty obvious the law that was created to keep France secular isn’t secular at all – it’s exclusionary. When compared, there’s no way a burkini could be much more “ostentatious” than a wetsuit. Other than the hair, they cover the same amount of skin. Mayor Lisnard isn’t prohibiting surfers from wearing wetsuits.

This is a direct attack against the Muslim community for no other reason than showing a hand of authority. If a woman is in a burkini at a beach, she will be given a warning that if she doesn’t leave or change, she will be fined $50. This isn’t a secular law, it’s a law all about faking power.

If you want to send a message to the Islamic extremists, your best route isn’t through women’s swimwear. Let the burkinis return to the beach. As terrifying as the world is right now, everyone deserves to have a little fun (in whatever clothing they prefer).

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