26 August 2016

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. [Harry’s Place] Read more