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26 August 2016, 16:34
And why you should care.
As you may or may not know, the internet has been embroiled in a bit of an ideological debate about something called a "Burkini" for the last week or so.
It's portmanteau of the words "burqa" and "bikini" and is a swimsuit primarily worn by Muslim women (although many non-muslim women wear them as well) to preserve modesty while at the beach. You may have spotted Egyptian volleyball players sporting the Burkini during the Olympics, something which also sparked fierce debate.
An incident involving French police and a scarf wearing beachgoer in Nice, France (some people are pointing out that she's not even wearing a burkini) has raised eyebrows about the policing of muslim women in the country where 30 towns have officially banned the full body swimsuit.
French authorities have said the ban is because of growing terrorism concerns, obviously alluding to the Bastille Day tragedy in Nice and other recent attacks in France. "I refuse to let the burkini impose itself at French beaches and swimming pools ... there must be a law to ban it throughout the Republic’s territory," said former President, Nicolas Sarkozy.
President Obama had a hot take about the Burkini.
I'm still not clear how the Burkini is a terrorism threat. Did the French confuse "portmanteau" with "terrorist"?— Sami Shah (@samishah) August 24, 2016
The banning of burkini isn't really about terrorism or feminism - just forced assimilation.— Sassy Little Hobbit (@LI_politico) August 21, 2016
Ego-tripping do-gooders miss the point as they fight to keep sexist, oppressive burkini clothing. https://t.co/xH0diRtC2E— Huw Gruffydd (@HuwGruffydd) August 25, 2016
(A gentle reminder that, while many women are oppressed all over the world, the hijab and other coverings are a personal choice for many women who are not oppressed. Labeling everyone who chooses to cover their hair as "oppressed" is not progressive or correct and it perpetuates the same harmful narratives that leads to these bans.)
The highest administrative court in France has temporarily suspended the ban on Burkini. A statement was issued from the court saying that the ban "seriously, and clearly illegally, breached the fundamental freedoms to come and go, the freedom of beliefs and individual freedom."