French Politicians Exploiting Public Fears to Deny Real Freedoms for Muslim Women

By   /   August 29, 2016  /   46 Comments

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How much oppression is justified to enforce liberty? That’s a question arising from the ban on Burkhas and ‘Burkhinis’ in France and Spain. And when does mandatory secularism become an excuse for bigotry, racism and sexism? We’ve also seen some answers to that.

burkini-blur

How much oppression is justified to enforce liberty? That’s a question arising from the ban on Burkhas and ‘Burkhinis’ in France and Spain. And when does mandatory secularism become an excuse for bigotry, racism and sexism? We’ve also seen some answers to that.

Most summer trips to the beach in the western world reveal the diversity of the human form laid out in all its glory. It’s not always ‘pretty’. But it’s the beach, so a different set of standards apply. We wear things we’d never otherwise wear in public or on the street. We choose the garb we’re most comfortable in, for swimming, sitting in the sun or parading. Almost anything – or nothing goes.

Some of us prefer to let it all hang out, and some prefer modesty.

Apparently, for Muslim women, modesty requires full dress – which can look quite styley; it’s self-respectful, and can be quite practical in offering protection from the sun. Among all the different shapes and sizes and states of undress at the beach, there are often sights far more challenging than women who choose to cover up. So in most countries, among the topless sunbathers, the formless bodies, the semi-naked teenagers, and the rash-suited swimmers, people in various other states of cover should just be part of that wonderfully diverse human mixed soup. I’ve seen photos of Catholic nuns paddling too. But no-one ever passed a law against that.

Indeed, it was only Muslim women – wearing burkhinis, and tunics, leggings and headscarves, who were fined for their beach-wear in France. So this isn’t about fashion, liberty, protecting from religious oppression, safety or providing for freedom of religious choice. This is about being a Muslim woman in France. Indeed, when a fight broke out over photos of a woman being taken in a burkhini, local politicians said it was the woman’s fault – proof, they said, of the dangers of ‘Muslim women wearing burkhinis at the beach’. That’s typical victim shaming right there.

French fears of ‘terrorism’ have become a justification for targeting Muslim women at the beach using tenuous links and reason. Women in conventional modest Muslim clothing at beaches and pools is out of the social order and will be prosecuted. Public displays of Muslim womanhood will not be tolerated. All Muslims, and specifically women in this case, are the collective scapegoats for terrorism, using the logic ‘Some Muslims carried out some terrorism attacks, therefore all Muslims are bad”. Furthermore “All Muslims are bad, so anyone wearing Muslim clothing is bad”. Ergo “Muslim women at the beach are bad”, a threat to social order and public safety, and should be banned.

It’s election year in France so across the spectrum politicians are picking up the bait and acting as harbingers of the hazards of Muslim women at the beach wearing headscarves and tunics. It’s a scary and slippery slope when a country adopts that almost as pre-election political consensus. But it also reveals hypocrisy and bias. When Saudi Arabia and Iran impose rigid dress codes, it’s oppression of women, but when France does it, it’s liberating? Even though no one actually asked the women how they felt about what they were wearing, ‘you can’t have a Muslim woman sitting on a beach wearing clothes’.

Nominally, burkhinis and Muslim swimming gear is outlawed because it is ‘unhygienic’, ‘enslavement of women’, ‘not respectful of good morals and secularism’, ‘extremist’, and ‘a risk to public order’. The excuses are ridiculous. The woman who was forced to remove her tunic by flak jacketed cops with pepper spray was just sitting on the beach. Nothing exceptionally unhygienic there. People nearby cheered when the police targeted her, and told her to go home. That’s not about hygiene, that’s about racism, fear, ignorance, irrationality. If she chose what she wore to the beach, she’s not enslaved. How she dresses on the outside says nothing about her morals.

There are almost five million Muslims in France, in a large part the result of France’s history of colonisation in Africa. At about 7% of the population, for many, France is ‘home’. Knee jerk, baseless prejudice inciting anti-Muslim sentiment among the rest of the population can only stigmatise and alienate Muslims further.

But it’s the same old story, men telling women what to do, what to wear, and they can’t win, unless they’re invisible. After all, what are Muslim women doing at the beach anyway. How come they’re even out in public. The French establishment would clearly rather they were somewhere else altogether.

The history of shaming women is nothing new. Women are shamed for wearing too little – wear a short skirt or low top and you’re a slut and deserve what you get. Wear a moderately conservative religious outfit and you’re a threat to the whole state.

The real principle is that women should be the ones who chose the garments that express their freedoms and liberties, and that this should extend to all parts of the public realm. This is lost on posturing French politicians taking cheap election shots to incite those who fear terrorism and fear real freedom for Muslim women.

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46 Comments

  1. Mike in Auckland says:

    I support the ban of the Burqa in public places, but I cannot see much sense in going as far as banning “burqinis” or what you may call a whole body dress some Muslim women prefer when going to the beach and going swimming.

    The burqa can be considered inappropriate, as it conceals the face, and in a country with a culture where people engage with each other face to face, person to person, when in the public, it is reasonable to expect people do not conceal their faces.

    There are laws in various countries that ban masked faces from protests. There has been a lot of fear and concern in various western countries since we had major terror attacks there, so the wider public there are not happy with people walking around wearing dresses or other clothing that may conceal faces and that could also enable people to carry things underneath a gown, that could be a concealed weapon.

    Of course the fear has been whipped up by media reporting, and also do extremist exploit the situation, to spread ever more suspicions and fears.

    A burqini though is a dress that sits tightly around the body, and it leaves the face open to see. It seems rather difficult to “conceal” anything in or underneath it. So this effort in France, to ban such a dress from beaches, by certain municipalities, seems a real over-reaction.

    Then they may as well also ban nuns walking the streets in their usual dress.

    In public places and government offices, schools and so a ban of the burqa is appropriate in my view, but a burqa is not a burqini and a difference must be made there.

    We have this debate really, because there are cultural differences, and some feel and think they can influence others, how to dress and behave, where there is a predominant culture and way of communicating and behaving.

    Apart from selected beaches or resorts in some North African and Mid Eastern countries you will not see any women in bikinis, it would be considered inappropriate, for cultural reasons. Also would it offend people in many countries if people lie in the sun nude, say on a beach, or go swimming in the nude.

    With internationalism and multiculturalism such discussions as this are necessary, what is appropriate where? Would we argue that as a western liberal minded person I have a right to go nude or drink beer in a Muslim country, where such behaviour is frowned upon or even illegal?

    Tolerance though is part of most western societies, it has been for years, so in France and elsewhere I hope that reason will prevail, and that this attempt to ban burqinis will not succeed, it is extreme and does unreasonably infringe on a person’s right to dress as they please, it is certainly not offensive to me and should not be so even for a bikini wearer or even a nudist using the same beach.

    Spot the difference, perhaps:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burqa
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burqini

    • Quick Thinking says:

      Your last paragraph was good, I don’t see any reason why you should not hold the same view about the burqa as well. I am not Muslim & don’t agree with their teachings but as long as their beliefs & actions cause no harm to others all faith groups should be free to follow their belief. The security issue is an appropriate concern in some situations but there needs to be a better solution than total bans in public.

  2. Afewknowthetruth says:

    All religions are just forms of social control and exploitation of the masses.

    George Carlin nailed it long ago when he highlighted the ridiculousness of some religions demanding heads to be covered and other demanding that heads be uncovered.

    “Personally I’d never want to be member of any group where you have to wear a hat or you can’t wear a hat.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNkkko4vlBs

    Muslim women are amongst the most controlled and exploited in the world. And there is now a justified fear amongst non-Muslims in Europe that, with very low birth rates amongst non-Muslims and very high birth rates amongst Muslims, plus mass migration, non-Muslim societies will be transformed into Muslim societies within a generation and hard-won freedoms will be eliminated as Muslims impose their weird ideas on everyone else.

    • Mike the Lefty says:

      I remember when I went to church as a cub (junior scout) and got told off when I forgot to remove my cap. Men were supposed to take off their hats but ladies leave them on.
      It all seems a bit nonsensical when you have police going onto a beach demanding that someone take off garments.
      It should be borne in mind that a religiously conservative Muslim woman probably wouldn’t even go near a beach with unrelated males nearby.

  3. “The real principle is that women should be the ones who chose the garments that express their freedoms and liberties, and that this should extend to all parts of the public realm. This is lost on posturing French politicians taking cheap election shots to incite those who fear terrorism and fear real freedom for Muslim women.”

    But who really choose to wear these garments – the women in their own hearts, or the women knowing in their own minds what the menfolk in their community expect … and, behind the scenes, enforce?

  4. Words says:

    Good points Christine Rose, but who really oppresses Muslim women in the first place? Apparently it’s not even in the Quran they have have to dress like they do today. Outside of countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan where extremism rules notice most Muslum men do not even cover their own heads, nor do they wear “traditional” dress of Muslim men.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2543902/Photos-just-free-women-Afghanistan-Taliban-rule.html

  5. mary_a says:

    Personally I can’t see the difference between a burkhini and a wet suit. The latter is deemed acceptable beach wear, so why not the other?

    I wear a rash shirt over my swimsuit when swimming at public pools and at the beach, because I feel the cold in winter and also I have sensitive skin. The rash shirt gives me some form of protection. I wear a swim cap as well. This is my choice of swim wear. It leaves me free to enjoy swimming all year round in comfort if I want to.

    To ban the burkhini anywhere when other forms of swim wear (or not) is openly tolerated, is conclusive bigotry against Muslim women who might also want the freedom of enjoying the pleasure of swimming or paddling or whatever they want to do in the water, without offending their religious beliefs.

    Go the burkhini. It is something to be celebrated, if it gives women the freedom of being able to enjoy the beach and water.

    Live and let live I say, if no harm is being done to others.

    • In Vino says:

      Mary – the difference is simple. The wet suit displays the sexy body shape, whereas the Burkywhatsit does not. The Islamic thing seems to be to hide all sexuality displayed by females – or is it not so much Islamic, but rather certain nations and cultures that happen to have become Islamic?

      Females may not display sexuality. Is this what secular Europe fears?
      I try to be tolerant, but given how certain Islamic countries expect secular Europeans (and even Americans!) to conform to their standards when in their countries, I cannot help but feel that to be consistent, they should allow secular countries to enforce their secularity with equal firmness.

      • Priss says:

        In Vino, are you seriously telling us that women MUST display their bodies for you men to ogle at?? Or have I mis-read your comments??

  6. Tom Gardner says:

    It is difficult to have respect or sympathy for those of a religion that requires/allows women to wear face-concealing clothes. Have you ever had conversation with such a woman, when all you can see is the eyes? — this is a combination of weird and disconcerting, and a feeling, please don’t ever come here.

    • Tom, do you include Catholic nuns and Amish women in your diktat?

      • Tom Gardner says:

        Frank, it’s the burka I’m talking about. To my knowledge, nuns and Amish don’t conceal their faces. I merely pass on my personal experience of finding it unsettling to have to talk, at some length, to someone who hides their face. Actually, talk really only to their accompanying face-available husband; her response limited, through a post-box slit, to gaze-avoidance. That’s OK (I suppose) in the Middle East; but it doesn’t fit in a Western country. When in Rome . . . .

        • Priss says:

          The burkinis don’t conceal women’s faces, Tom.You’re thinking of something else.

        • Samwise says:

          it doesn’t,t matter, Tom. whether it covers faces or bums, what people decide to wear is their freedom of choice.

          remember freedom of choice? It,s what we pride ourselves here in the West,

      • D'Esterre says:

        “..do you include Catholic nuns and Amish women…”

        These aren’t parallel examples; in any event, Catholic nuns don’t wear the traditional habit here in NZ, and haven’t done so mostly since about the 1970s.

        I can’t do better than quote Kim Hill, who on Saturday morning received a communication from somebody adducing the same example; she told him he was being silly.

    • janine says:

      Yes Tom I have and more than once. It is a bit disconcerting mainly because it’s an unusual experience in this part of the world but I got over it.

      I believe women should be able to dress as they please not as I or others tell them to.

      The burkini is a bit like a wetsuit made prettier and more feminine as such I cant see how it can offend anybody except people who go to beach to stare at semi naked women.

      To me it sounds insane to force women to uncover themselves to be free or liberated. Freedom is choosing for ourselves. It’s not only Muslim women who feel happier with their bodies covered.

      And yes some Muslim women are forced to cover because that is insisted upon by their families. In this case surely allowing them to wear a burkini and thus experience the joys of swimming is giving them a little more freedom and fun.

      What exactly is to be gained from not allowing women this and then bullying them on the beach ?

  7. For those folk who think that it’s ok for a bunch of armed cops to use stand-over tactics to force a woman to remove her clothing…

    Would the same rules apply to families wearing swimming togs who happen to go to a nudist beach?

    Would armed police be justified in forcing textiled beach-goers to strip naked?

    Just wondering, so we all know the rules when it comes to Clothing Police implementing state-control over our clothing options.

    And irony upon ironies, the police in the image above are all fully clothed whilst standing on the beach…

  8. D'Esterre says:

    ” I’ve seen photos of Catholic nuns paddling too. But no-one ever passed a law against that.”

    In most parts of the world from about the late 1960s, Catholic orders either modified or abandoned altogether the traditional habit. Any shots of Catholic nuns wearing habits and paddling in the sea are therefore likely to be archival. Publication of such photos in the context of this debate suggests tendentiousness on the part of the publishers.

    I’m unconvinced by the arguments advanced in this post. France has a strong secular tradition; as has been pointed out by many commentators, it is one of the means by which disparate cultures and religions manage to rub along together. The bans on both burqa and burqini are widely supported by both Muslims and non-Muslims.

    France has for many decades had a large Muslim population. The issues with the burqa – and, by extension, the burqini – are of relatively recent origin, dating from about 2001. Liberal French citizens see both garments as a symbol of emerging Islamist extremism, hence their support of a ban.

    In my view, talk of shaming women and rhetoric about freedom to choose simply misses the mark. The wearing of these garments is a political statement; it has nothing whatever to do with feminism. French people understand this very well: after all, they live with Islamist extremism in a way that we cannot begin to imagine.

    • D’Esterre, I was wondering when you’d make an appearance. You are on record in previous stories as being anti-Islam to a point of justifying reactionary attacks on women wearing traditional clothing.

      Your comment, “the wearing of these garments is a political statement; it has nothing whatever to do with feminism. French people understand this very well: after all, they live with Islamist extremism in a way that we cannot begin to imagine”
      – highlights this perfectly.

      Your views on muslims is coded racism.

      • Andrew says:

        Frank, crying “racism!” is the last resort of someone who has just lost a debate.

        Try harder next time!

        • Andrew – I call it like it is. If you want another word for racism, bigotry will probably work just as well.

          Your bigotted attitude toward Maori, women, welfare recipients, and muslims is well known on this forum.

    • Priss says:

      Oh, I see our resident Islamaphobe is back. Tell me, D’Esterre, why do you comment ONLY on issues surrounding muslims? Never mind, I think we know why.

      You are so bklinded by your bigotry that you’re willing to condone police thugs ordering a woman to remove her clothing. That speaks volumes about your so-called interest in women’s rights.

      Address your own racism first before accusing others of extremism.

      • D'Esterre says:

        Priss: “…our resident Islamaphobe is back.”
        “Address your own racism….”

        Hmm, name-calling instead of countervailing argument.

        “you’re willing to condone police thugs ordering a woman to remove her clothing.”

        Nope: I said no such thing.

        • “you’re willing to condone police thugs ordering a woman to remove her clothing.”

          Nope: I said no such thing.

          Actually, you did. Not in so many words, you’re too cunning to come straight out and say it. But your comment above sanctioned Police thuggery;

          The bans on both burqa and burqini are widely supported by both Muslims and non-Muslims.

          France has for many decades had a large Muslim population. The issues with the burqa – and, by extension, the burqini – are of relatively recent origin, dating from about 2001. Liberal French citizens see both garments as a symbol of emerging Islamist extremism, hence their support of a ban.

          In my view, talk of shaming women and rhetoric about freedom to choose simply misses the mark. The wearing of these garments is a political statement;

          By justifying the ban you are giving tacit approval to how muslim women are being bullied.

          You just lack honesty in coming straight out to say it.

    • In most parts of the world from about the late 1960s, Catholic orders either modified or abandoned altogether the traditional habit.

      Not true: http://peopleof.oureverydaylife.com/types-nun-habits-8271.html

      And here: http://globalnews.ca/news/2903036/people-share-photos-of-nuns-on-the-beach-in-response-to-burkini-ban-in-france/

      As usual, you make up “facts” to suit your prejudice.

      • D'Esterre says:

        “As usual, you make up “facts” to suit your prejudice.”

        Frank, it’s always a good idea to read links before you post them. The first of them says what I’ve already pointed out about Catholic nuns for the most part modifying or abandoning the traditional habit.

        The second link shows a bunch of nuns wearing exactly that modified habit. There is one pic only of a nun in the traditional coif and full-length robe, and I note that she’s not paddling anywhere. No date, either, to show when it was taken, so absent evidence to the contrary, I’d say it’s probably archival.

        I grew up a Catholic. The nuns of my childhood without exception wore the coif and the full-length robe. From about the late 60s, they modified the habit so that it looked much like that being worn by those paddling nuns. Nowadays, they don’t wear a veil, and their dress is pretty much everyday clothing, as is true of many orders, both here and elsewhere in the world. Although some do wear a sort of uniform dress.

        In any event, as I and others have pointed out, it’s a false equivalence to equate the nun’s traditional habit with the burqa or the burqini; the reasons for wearing them aren’t the same. Adducing pictures of nuns in the traditional habit in defence of either burqa or burqini is tendentious, in my view.

        • Theodore says:

          So tell us, D’Esterre, if you think women should dress according to cultural dictates, what are you views on women being required to cover up in countries where fundamentalist muslim clerics hold sway?

          Do you think Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have a right to demand women dress fully covered when out in public?

          What are your views on the rights of women to choose to wear what they want.

        • Theodore says:

          Oh, so you’re a CATHOLIC. No wonder you’re obsessed on this issue!!

          “as I and others have pointed out, it’s a false equivalence to equate the nun’s traditional habit with the burqa or the burqini; the reasons for wearing them aren’t the same. ”

          Oh? And just why not?

          What makes the difference between the two?

          Why are you demanding religious and cultural freedom for yourself and your religion but denying it to others?

          And don’t give us this “political statement” crap, that’s a cop-out and we’re not buying it.

        • Frank, it’s always a good idea to read links before you post them. The first of them says what I’ve already pointed out about Catholic nuns for the most part modifying or abandoning the traditional habit.

          The second link shows a bunch of nuns wearing exactly that modified habit. There is one pic only of a nun in the traditional coif and full-length robe

          I’m glad you noticed all that. It means you’re paying attention in that the dress styles are varied. Including traditional gear.

          So your references to “Catholic orders either modified or abandoned altogether the traditional habit” is a red herring.

          I grew up a Catholic.

          So you’re a religious bigot who is using conflict in the Middle East and terrorism in Europe to validate your own Catholic chauvinism?

          D’Esterre, you’re little better than muslim, jewish, and other extremists that think their religion is superior to others. You’re using violent events by a tiny minority in Europe to voice and defend your own chauvinistic bigotry;

          In any event, as I and others have pointed out, it’s a false equivalence to equate the nun’s traditional habit with the burqa or the burqini; the reasons for wearing them aren’t the same. Adducing pictures of nuns in the traditional habit in defence of either burqa or burqini is tendentious, in my view.

          It is your kind of misguided feeling of superiority that creates fertile ground for extremism.

          Trying to wave away the attire of other religious faiths as “tedentious” is weak. Nuns wear their attire in varying forms.

          Decades ago they were dressed more traditionally than today.

          They probably weren’t judged by the likes of you.

          Perhaps you should take a leaf from a well-known figure who told his followers, “judge not and ye shall not be judged”.

  9. Priss says:

    God help us. It’s 2016 and we women still have to be arguing we can where whatever the hell we want??

  10. D'Esterre says:

    Frank: “Your views on muslims is coded racism.”

    So: you’ve resorted to name-calling; which suggests that you’ve run out of countervailing arguments.

    “…anti-Islam to a point of justifying reactionary attacks on women wearing traditional clothing.”

    I said no such thing. I pointed out that the ban on both garments is widely supported in France, by both Muslims and non-Muslims. Liberal Muslim French women are only too well aware of the growing peril to their freedoms posed by emergent extremism; they, along with many non-Muslim women, see the burqa and burqini as a symbol of that extremism. That is what I was commenting on. I wasn’t proffering a judgment on it.

    Muslim women know that neither garment is mandated by the Holy Qu’ran for the preservation of their modesty. Turkey – a secular Muslim-majority country – has until recently proscribed the wearing even of the hijab in schools and universities, let alone the burqa. That didn’t stop them being good Muslims.

    I say again: what is it to you? You’re a man. You will never be affected by the restrictive head and body coverings imposed upon Muslim women, regardless of whether they wish to wear them. Nor will you be so affected, were critical mass from Muslim population growth to drive normalisation of such restrictions to all women regardless of their religion, or lack of, in France or elsewhere. Don’t think it can’t happen. Although to be sure, the imposition of extremist proscriptions on other aspects of behaviour may well crimp your own style somewhat.

    • what is it to you? You’re a man.

      I’m not Black or gay either, D’Esterre, but that hasn’t stopped me in the past from expressing solidarity with Blacks or those in the LGBT community.

      The rest of your diatribe is your usual rant against muslims, using extremism and paranoia as your excuse to justify your bigotry.

      You’re simply using so-called “burqa and burqini as a symbol of that extremism” as your justification to express your own racist extremism.

      It is an ugliness that people like you exploit women’s rights so you can vent your own bigoted beliefs.

      Your comment above that “The wearing of these garments is a political statement; it has nothing whatever to do with feminism” is your imposition of your cultural values onto others who you see as alien and threatening. It is cultural chauvinism masquerading as “feminism”. Fact is, you rarely, if ever, comment on issues relating to sexism on this Forum – unless muslims are involved. So don’t give me your bullshit about women or women’s rights to freedom of choice. Otherwise you sure as hell wouldn’t be trying to justify the chauuvinistic imposition of dominant culture values onto others (in this case, migrants).

      I call it like it is – you’re a racist.

      • D'Esterre says:

        Frank: this is a most unfortunate response on your part. I disagree with prevailing views on this issue, and I state my views, as is my right: freedom of speech and all that. I do not abuse or name-call. If you have a countervailing argument that doesn’t involve calling me racist, by all means present it.

        It’s clear that you’re enraged by my views: the feeling isn’t mutual, you know. I care about responding to arguments; I don’t care about other people getting hot under the collar.

        It really isn’t your business how often, or on what issues, I comment. This is also a freedom of speech issue. You look after your comments, I’ll look after mine.

        I say again: what is it to you? Wearing garments such as the burqa and burqini is a choice; it isn’t remotely like being gay or black. And nobody will ever require you to do it, no matter how hellishly conservative this society were to become.

        I pointed out that liberal French women – Muslim and non-Muslim – see these garments as symbols of extremism. I remain of the view that wearing them is a political statement: it has nothing whatever to do with feminism – or religion, for that matter. In this country, we’ve had a Muslim population since the 19th century; until about 2001, even the hijab was almost never seen.

        I think that anybody who reads your comments can see who it is who’s ranting. And it ain’t me.

        • Priss says:

          Actualkly, D’Esterere, I find Frank’s response spot on.

          You’re using extremism and terrorism from a tiny minority to justify your own rampant racism and chauvinis. You’re right, “Wearing garments such as the burqa and burqini is a choice” – so mind your own damn business and climb ouit of your racist hole you’re digging for yourself.

          “I pointed out that liberal French women – Muslim and non-Muslim – see these garments as symbols of extremism” is precisely YOUR problem. Perhaps you should re-visit your attitudes toward other cultures and religions and stop your attacks on women of colour who choose to dress differently.

          Youre not much better than the Muslism fundamentalists who demand women cover up. Bigots like you demand they adhere to YOUR beliefs.

          Grow up, D’Esterre.

        • Theodore says:

          D’esterre, while I have little love for burkhas, I find your views straying sadly into the realm of cultural fascism. Your admission that you’re a Catholic does your religion no credit, especially since I believe Jesus Christ has certain firm views on judging others.

          You cannot impose freedom of choice on people. That is not how freedom works.

          Women of the muslim faith living in the West have choices, it’s up to them to decide for themselves.

          People like you are not helping matters one iota. In fact, your intolerance just makes matters worse.

          Read Christine’s blogpost again, this time with an open mind, if you’re capable.

    • “…anti-Islam to a point of justifying reactionary attacks on women wearing traditional clothing.”

      I said no such thing.

      Yes, you did. In the very next breath;

      I pointed out that the ban on both garments is widely supported in France, by both Muslims and non-Muslims. Liberal Muslim French women are only too well aware of the growing peril to their freedoms posed by emergent extremism; they, along with many non-Muslim women, see the burqa and burqini as a symbol of that extremism.

      You honestly seem oblivious to your bigotry. Even when pointed out to you, you deflect and deny.

      You’re some kind of Christian fundamentalist, using this Forum to voice your religious bigotry.

      What’s the bet you’re an anti-abortion activist as well?

    • Priss says:

      “you’ve resorted to name-calling; which suggests that you’ve run out of countervailing arguments” – D’Esrrre

      But yet you feel quite comfortable conflating women on a beach weith extremists?

      At least Frank is deconstructing your bigotry, D’Esterre, in a way that is fairly clear to see.

    • Samwise says:

      actually, d’esterre, clothing fascism will not encourage immigrants to be part of any new community, and all you’re doing is alienating newcomers.

      How about you leave people the right to choose what they wear, let them get on with their lives, and mind your own busy-bodying King business.

      Last time I looked we still have freedom of choice. You do understand freedom of choice don’t you? It’s what we pride ourselves on here in the West.

  11. I say again: what is it to you? Wearing garments such as the burqa and burqini is a choice; it isn’t remotely like being gay or black.

    I could ask you the same thing, D’Estrre; what is it to you what other women wear?

    The only time we see your name on this Forum is when the issues are around muslims. You don’t seem one bit interested in this country’s growing wealth/income gap; housing crisis; child poverty; environmental degradation, etc.

    Your sole focus (obsession more like) is what muslim women are wearing.

    Is that the sum total of your concerns of the problems that confront us?

    As for your ridiculous assertion;

    Wearing garments such as the burqa and burqini is a choice; it isn’t remotely like being gay or black.

    So? Are you seriously telling us that just because wearing cultural attire “is a choice”, that it’s ok for bigots like you to be discriminatory?

    So being “black or gay” is fine – but a woman expressing her own choice is a gateway for your chauvinistic prejudices?!

    Keep going, D’Esterre. You convict yourself of racism and religious bigotry every time you post.



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