#BurkiniBan: Islamophobia veiled in France?

2016-08-17 09:45 - Carina Greeff
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Cape Town - The burkini is a full body swimsuit worn by Muslim women who wish to participate in modern activities like swimming at popular beach resorts, while preferring to dress modestly. Burkinis can be spotted at beaches and pools globally, but don't expect to see many of them on the French Riviera.

Burkinis have recently been banned by the mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard, because it is overtly religious.  The ban states: “Beachwear which ostentatiously displays religious affiliation, when France and places of worship are currently the target of terrorist attacks, is liable to create risks of disrupting public order", The Huffington Post reports.

Lisnard is concerned about women sporting these swimsuits as it is a “symbol of Islamic extremism,” and he introduced the ban to "ensure security."

Photo: The Associated Press

The independent reports, the ban limits access to beaches to those with secular swim suits, respecting good customs.

Lisnard, who does not 'want to stir up controversy' said he took the decision to make sure his city is safe in the context of the state of emergency.

The ban follows the cancellation of a Marseille burkini event, where organisers received death threats. The ban also comes shortly after the Bastille Day incident in Nice, where Islamist Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel ploughed a lorry through a crowd.

ALSO SEE: Paradise Lost: Attack dims sunny Nice's sparkle

After the burkini ban in Cannes, the mayor of Villeneuve Loubet, Lionnel Luca, also banned the full body swim suits for hygienic purposes. 

The ban on burkinis in these French regions has created quite an uproar, as Muslim women, choosing to dress modestly, are disrespected. What does this ban say for women's rights in France and their freedom of expression and how does this promote equality? 

The Independent highlights the European Convention on Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.”

The Collective Against Islamophobia in France intends to fight the ban, which has been labelled discriminatory. Muslim women are entitled to human rights and should not be targeted.

Many opinions on the #BurkiniBan have surfaced on Twitter and highlights the controversy behind the ban.

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