Current Affairs

Were the French right to ban the burkini?

As the French ban the burkini, and a woman in a headscarf is ordered to disrobe on the beach by police, NEXT sub-editor Maria asks if the nation have truly lost their sense of vive la liberté after all.

Burkini ban
“Silly me… I thought the year was 2016, but a headline from yesterday’s Guardian confirmed we are actually still in the Dark Ages.
‘French police make woman remove clothing on Nice beach following burkini ban,’ it reads.
Okay, I get it. The French are très jumpy following the terror attacks on their people. But this kind of heavy-handed oppression – FOUR cops versus one woman and her crying child – is the kind of prejudice that radicalises people and makes a place more, not less, vulnerable to terror. Worse, this state-endorsed victimisation of a woman wearing a headscarf only gives fuel to the rednecks and racists. Not to mention the toxic politics of Jean Marie Le Pen and the rest of the French far right.
Apparently others on the beach were cheering and shouting ‘Go Home!’ Never mind that she was no doubt ‘at home’ already.
France have increased their security since the Bastille day attacks
And isn’t France a secular state? Pardon moi if I’ve got this wrong but secularism is, according to no less than the National Secular Society, “a principle that involves two basic propositions. The first is the strict separation of the state from religious institutions. The second is that people of different religions and beliefs are equal before the law.”
What part of “equal before the law” came into a quartet of cops bullying a woman on a beach purely because of her attire – which they presumed to affiliate her to Islam? I don’t know whether she was Muslim or not, but so what if she was?
Well done France; you’re doing a marvellous job at divide and rule. Vive la liberté never looked more laughable.