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Burkini ban overturned

France’s highest court has overturned the controversial burkini ban put in place at Villeneuve-Loubet, and it is expected that other seaside towns will acknowledge this legal precedent and reverse their own bans.

Feelings against the ban have been running high.  Many have been outraged by pictures of women forced to disrobe or leave the beach.  As Yasmin Weaver notes in her excellent recent post, even if this incident was staged, that doesn’t justify an illiberal and unnecessary ban.

There is something quite bizarre in the language used to justify banning the burkini.  Apparently it is impossible to demonstrate ‘good morals and secularism’ on the beach unless a certain quota of bare skin is on display.

The garment has also been described as ‘liable to offend the religious convictions or (religious) non-convictions of other users of the beach,” and – by Sarkozy – as ‘provocative’.

Very similar terms could be used to press for blasphemy legislation.  Just as some Muslims defend the right to publish cartoons of Mohammed but still find them personally offensive, those of us who perhaps don’t care for what the burkini represents should still stand up for people’s right to wear it.

Attitudes towards the burkini aren’t always fully predictable.  Whereas about 80% of the comments below my recent piece on this issue seemed in favour of the ban, Daniel Pipes, a forthright critic of Islamism, is bemused by all the fuss.

[B]each burkinis should be allowed without restriction. Cultural arguments, such as the one made by Valls, are specious and discriminatory. If a woman wishes to dress modestly on the beach, that is her business, and not the state’s.

He returned to the issue again yesterday, drawing particular attention to the case of a woman targeted simply for wearing a headscarf.  Clearly this ban is emboldening some nasty types as the woman then got abused by onlookers who told her to ‘go home’.

I was reminded of the burkini ban by pictures of modestly dressed Palestinian women enjoying a day of the beach with their children (via a charitable initiative) in Israel.  And here’s an Israeli cartoon which makes an ironic comment on French priorities.

Although 5pillars’ readers never let slip a chance to grievance monger, it didn’t take them long to notice that these burkinis aren’t ‘proper hijab’:

We understand this burkini ban is wrong… but lets address the bigger issue connected to this:
Why are muslims men/women in places where nudity is common? (Like the beach pictured).

And since when was the burkini proper hijab in the first place? Yes its better than wearing an actual bikini but that doesnt make it right.

‘not proper hijab’

Before the ban was overturned campaigners protested outside the French Embassy.  Rather than everyone covering up in ‘solidarity’, the women dressed as they pleased – burkinis by bikinis – a reminder (although I know you don’t need it) that restrictions on women’s dress cut both ways.

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