24 August 2016

Dear France, banning burkinis is just not what liberal democracies do

"Madam, take off your swimwear this instant by order of the police". As the latest woman to be found near the sea in a headscarf and leggings has been told to change or pay, it appears that France really has gone to a place that even the cruellest of satirists might struggle to come up with.

But, citing fears about anti-Muslim "provocation" after the horrendous wave of Islamist violence in France this summer, authorities in 15 French towns have gone ahead and banned the burkini.

At a time of grave national danger, in which the true extent of French Islamism looks worse daily, it is almost impossible to believe that this is the symbolic battle ground on which France has chosen to battle extremism. Controlling Islamic extremism will not done by trifling about with garb, but with a clear political message, a radical rethink of social policy, and a tough, intelligent policing operation.

Moreover, the logic that something should avoided in case it provokes other crimes smacks of the same foul thinking that leads some to assert that condemning Islamism breeds more fanatics, and therefore we should not do it. The burkini ban, then, is just crude moral relativism turned upside down. [The Telegraph] Read more