The idea that a woman can be forced to bare more flesh or face being fined sounds extremely ludacris; However, this is the exact conundrum faced by a Muslim woman in France this summer.
Born from combing the words ‘burqa’ and ‘bikini’ a burkini is a head to toe bathing suit which enables Muslim women to enjoy going to the beach whilst also allowing them to maintain their modesty. To most people this sort of clothing would pose no harm what so ever, however it has caused a considerable about of controversy over the past few weeks. We have all been aware of the recent terrorist attacks that have unfortunately, plagued France and other European countries. Particularly, following an attack in Nice killing 85 people and murder of a Roman Catholic priest, tensions have been running extremely high. Amid this tension numerous French towns have decided on a burkini ban on their beaches.
Why is this the case you ask?
What correlation could there be between an increase in terror and this religious clothing?
Right wing officials defend their decision, saying the burkini is a statement of allegiance to the terrorist movements. This, to me, is an entirely prejudice view and a huge generalisation for people to assume that all women who wear burqa’s support the concept of terrorism. I find this thought process alarmingly similar to that of some police officers in America who end up shooting innocent people based on their own preconception of what they believe their clothing says about them as a person i.e. Trayvon Martin who was tragically killed by an officer because he was black and wearing a hoodie which to the officer, presented the disposition of someone ‘up to no good’.
However, one mayor’s presented an alternative argument giving his reason for the ban, that he considered it unhygienic to swim fully clothed. Now forgive me if I am wrong but even if it was incredibly unhygienic to get into the water shouldn’t women be permitted to wear it on the beach. The woman involved in this debate was only relaxing on the sand and had not gone into the ocean but was still approached by police. Furthermore, isn’t there a certain level of human rights that allows someone to make that decision for themselves. It’s incredibly unhygienic for children to pee in the sea, but we all know they do, does that mean we should ban all children from beaches?
Going back to my first point though; yes, I believe your clothing can generally give you an idea of someone ethnicity, social status and religious stance (in some cases) but it isn’t fair for someone to be judged so heavily off of it. Especially not to the extent where policy implementation occurs that feed into these negative stereotypes. At the end of the day you can never be certain of someone’s character, or in this case, their involvement in terrorist activity from the clothing that they wear or more importantly the religious group they are apart of.
By Toro Kehinde http://www.torosthoughts.wordpress.com