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Reader comment on item: Ban the Burqa, Allow the Burkini

Submitted by Iftikhar Ahmad (United Kingdom), Aug 23, 2016 at 16:10

Can't really understand why covering up on the beach is wrong. Strange how the decision was made by men...living near the beach...in the summer months....!!!! I don't think its helpful to ban any particular form of dress or undress for that matter and this ban will solve nothing and only lead to further resentment and play directly into the narrative that extremists so desire. However, what intrigues me is how in the last two decades or so we have a Muslim population, particularly women who are becoming increasingly conservative rather then choosing to dress more liberally in a way that encourages integration and dispels the "otherness" which is is often complained about. What is the narrative? More pressure from menfolk, peer pressure from the Mosque? Or even Hijab etc seen as being empowering from their own perspective? A burkini or a standard swim suit with my body at my age? Neither really as both are relatively revealing, merely covering the body in fitted clothing hides nothing, especially once it is wet. I want a return to the Victorian bathing dress with it voluminous skirts to ankle level, along with the bathing cart that was driven in to the sea so you didn't even have to show yourself walking down the beach. I don't want the head and neck covering part, but as I always wear hats in the sun, that is only a minor adjustment. It would be interesting to see how the Mayor of Cannes would react to my preferred attire, it was after all de rigour 150 years ago.

I know several white, non-Muslim, very pale skinned women who went on holidays to Dubai, came back with burkinis and continue to wear them on European beaches. I consider doing something myself, thanks for alerting me to M&S. Most people have no idea how difficult it is be pale skinned person who only burns (and doesn't tan). No, SPF50 doesn't help for long and even doctors recommend staying away from the sun. Why should I deprive myself from the fun on the beach when I can wear protective clothes. I could even play volleyball (and I don't like playing half naked anyway). I do not think people should be told what to wear so I disagree with the ban and if I was a Niceian (Niceite?) I would be asking to have the ban removed. There's an awful lot of people keen to defend women's rights to wear what they want... by telling them what to wear (or not to wear). Strange.People should be free to wear what they like. I burn very easily so prefer to wear clothes - my choice. I do remove to swim, but not liking swimming in salt water this is a rare occurrence, mostly in in full length trousers, long sleeved top and a big hat! in the UK most people wear wet suits on beaches anyway, ours (minus the hood) look rather like a burkini. Terrorism in the name of Islam is unlikely to be reduced by banning Burkinis. People should be able to wear what the hell they like. What on earth does wearing a burkini have to do with terrorism?

Banning the burkini in the name of secularism (or in any other name) is among the most illiberal things I've heard of lately - and unfortunately I've heard of quite a few illiberal things lately. I've heard that topless bathing among women is far less common in southern France today than it was years ago. I suppose I'd be okay with a ban on the burkini if they also banned swimsuit tops for women. This would prove that it actually is a secular ban, not a religious one. If they are not willing to do that, then they are effectively saying that your modesty borne of Islam is not acceptable, but our modesty borne of Christianity is. What fuss. Humanity has far greater concerns than worrying about what people wear or not wear. Symbolism is over-rated. Live and let live. Apart for genuine health and safety issues for others, let people wear and not wear whatever they want. In this case, from total nudity to full knight plate armour. Hey, in Australia, Surf lifesaving NSW has burkinis in club colours so Muslim women can participate in surf lifesaving clubs. And as a pale skinned person in the skin cancer capital of the world, I, all in favour of them. If you considered the burka or burkini on its merits as a form of clothing, I'd give it 5 stars (out of 5). Please be kinder everyone and look for the good. There are many reasons why we should welcome the burkini. Beaches are public places and burkini clad women are allowed in them, which is good. They add a bit of colour so that lifeguards can see them. Plus it's highly unlikely you can hire a lorry wearing one. See, lots of good things about the Burkini.

My white Canadian neighbour dressed her blue-eyed blonde children in very similar outfits, her intent was to prevent them getting sunburned and being susceptible to skin cancer in later life. Contrary to some opinion, brown skinned people are equally prone to sun damage so this ban is potentially harming some people's health. But the most offensive part of this is that the authorities in France have adopted the strict Islamic anti-women tendency of telling women what they may or may not wear instead of trusting them to be free thinking people able to decide on their own what they want to dress in. A fair skinned woman used to cover up almost all of her skin when she went into the sea or stayed on the beach; it was the only way she could enjoy the the conditions without dire consequence. People gave her some very funny looks and some of the Spanish men asked her if she didn't want to "show off more of what you've got"; She was very happy to show off as much as anyone else in the fantastic nightclubs. The thing is, the burkini is definitely far healthier for the skin of lots of women. I hope it's use isn't just confined to Muslim women.

I suspect that the burkini ban in France is mere posturing to seem tough and right-wing, to take the wind out of the actual Right's sails. Far-right parties are on the rise in France, the Netherlands and Germany, and so the authorities there are trying to sound tough on minorities. It's sad that liberal democracy has to become somewhat illiberal to protect itself. Who wants to get skin cancer? The best medical advice is not to expose your skin to the sun's harmful rays, so covering yourself and your children up on the beach is essential. Take extra care when in sunnier climates – you may burn quickly, even when it isn't hot. If we start legislating on what people can and can't wear, where will it all end? How will it free thousands of women though? It's just another way of controlling what women can and can't wear. If a woman is being pressured into covering up it's more likely she just won't be able to go to the beach any more once the 'burkini' is banned. These kind of imposed changes will only serve to further isolate vulnerable women, and restrict the choices of those who want to cover up of their own free will. This change in law is not being proposed to protect women. That is clear from the 'terrorist' narrative accompanying it's proposal.

The burkini wasn't invited to oppress and is oppressing no one. There's a clear difference between the burkini and Burqa. Wearing a burkini is a lot less annoying than people wearing Ramones T-shirts who have no idea who they are. Why are these fascist, fashion police telling what to wear on a beach? Here in Europe, we take the view that we do not want people making ostentatious shows of faith through their clothing in a manner that comprehensively rejects European culture and values. I'm afraid you're wrong about that. In Britain, which is geographically if not culturally/politically part of Europe (at least not for much longer), we allow ostentatious displays of religious allegiance everywhere, including in schools, hospitals, law courts, etc. In Italy care homes and indeed some hospitals are staffed by nuns; in Germany some public-sector buildings (schools, regional government offices, etc.) have crucifixes prominently on display.

Why aren't there burkini - or sun-protection - full arm and leg covering bathing suits available anyway? There are plenty of them in perfectly fine UV-blocking-water-repelling bathing suit fabrics for kids. Hasn't anyone in the Mediterranean heard of skin cancer?

If I went to the beach, I'd be wearing non swimming gear, but it would certainly be sun-safe. Even people who do wear "Western" bathing gear often cover up with sarong-sari thingummies &or those loose wrap-caftan-kimono-men's-shirt style garments. http://www.theiconic.com.au/womens-clothing-swimwear/?page=1&sort=popularity&category=183

It's amazing how much tolerance and free speech is preached and then someone decides to announce an intolerant policy like that. This ban must have been designed to inflame tensions. Covering up on the beach makes sense for so many reasons but at least people should be allowed to choose. The Queen wears a head scarf, is that to be banned too'. Integration doesn't mean "do whatever the majority does". Personally as a woman I would rather NOT go to the beach /swimming pool dressed in what is little more than underwear. I wear a pair of baggy blokes shorts and a tankini/vest top thing. Modesty isn't always to do with religion. The M&S outfit looks no different to a pair of leggings, long top and swim hat. If a white French woman wore that on a beach would it be allowed? And where does it say that French, UK, German or whatever state proscribes wearing little clothes? Or what people should wear? Which law legislates it?

The burkini is all the rage for the ump-flippin-teenth time, and our latest dip into controversial swimwear politics comes from – you'll never guess – the French. The mayor of Cannes is going trigger-ban happy by curtailing the right to swim while covered on the French Riviera. The ruling states: "Beachwear that ostentatiously displays religious affiliation, when France and places of worship are currently the target of terrorist attacks, is liable to create risks of disrupting public order." I don't think that thought crossed Nigella Lawson's mind, to be honest. Is full-piece swimwear really more offensive than seeing a middle-aged bum crack? Is it really going to terrorise your Mr Whippy into a total meltdown? The Mayor of Cannes is as entitled to his opinion as the rest of us. What they're not entitled to do is impose their opinions on everyone else. It's a free country; you wear what you bloody well like and it's no other buggers business. It's called 'liberty'. It's wonderful. Enjoy it. I love the way men on here saying women are forced to wear Burqa assume all Muslim women are submissive, cowed, or incapable of making their own decisions. And filing totally to see how utterly presumptuous they are being. Where are the western men crying about western women feeling 'forced' to go half naked to please western men? There are plenty of non-religious women who don't feel comfortable exposing their bodies, should these women also be banned from covering up? The 'burkini ban' in France is utterly nonsensical, both from a logical and common sense point of view, and the absurd legal 'reasoning' the mayor came up with. Explain to me the logic whereby it is legal to wear Islamic dress while walking the streets of France, and yet when standing on a beach it becomes illegal? Can you provide the logic as to how telling women what to wear (whether a burkini or a bikini) is not oppressive. Women should be able to wear whatever they want to the beach - just as men get to do. This garment gives oppressed women the chance to swim /splash in the water , a truly liberating experience, shouldn't we be joyful? Let people choose what they like! We claim to live in free countries...

Politicians talk constantly about integration and inclusion, and then proceed to kick out to the fringes the very women they claim are oppressed and excluded from society. The doublespeak is getting beyond annoying now. There is even a clampdown on private events: recently the local mayor of Pennes-Mirabeau, near Marseilles, called to ban a private pool party hosted by Muslim women in a water park. Less than a week later the organisers received death threats, which led them to cancel. The illiberal authoritarians in France who have passed laws saying what you're not allowed to wear. Consider: a bunch of (mostly older male) politicians decided that wearing the Burqa 'oppressed women'. So they passed a law to make it a crime and to punish any woman who... dared to defy them by wearing one! *face palm* So it would be respectful to European culture to wear a bikini on a beach? Isn't it European culture to be respectful of others ideas/beliefs/faiths? So if someone wants to go on a beach wearing a burkini, shouldn't we be respectful of their choice? And here I thought Europe's free and democratic tradition was about the right to choose how to live one's own life without undue interference into personal matters like how we dress, what we eat or who we choose to spend our lives with. Silly me. Women are not being told what to wear; the whole point is that they are being told what they cannot wear. Which is just as bad, its still dictating to women what they can or cannot wear. Its none of your business, either way. Terrorists are not famous for wearing burkinis. What does this ban do to prevent terrorism? Did we ban Murphy's beer during the IRA campaigns? Everyone should wear what they want. in the end , that is the real freedom

Though some are falling over themselves to restrict freedom of dress, celebrate the meaning of true democracy by buying one of many choices available to you in swimwear, and remind Monsieur le Mayor that égalité is also about diversité. They may take our lives, but they will never take our burkinis. If you are forced to eat ice cream, it's a tool of subjugation. If you make the choice to eat ice cream, it's a celebration of freedom. It is not the ice cream itself that makes you free or subjugated. The burkini doesn't cover the face. A ban still isn't the answer. Unless we now think men banning clothing women often choose to wear is the embodiment of female empowerment? The "burkini" term is itself skewed and not an accurate word to be used in an impartial discussion or evaluation of this matter. After all, the face is never covered. In reality, it's hardly any different the swimwear used by scuba divers. Most women a century ago were forced to wear only a dress and never trousers - either by society or their families. Yet today we have women happily choosing to wear a dress. Subjugation is about the lack of choice and freedom. Forcing women to only wear bikinis at a beach can be an example of this, if you think about it objectively. In this country, the majority of women I see wearing the Burqa or the hijab are doing out of choice, just the same as women who wear a surfing wet suit or a bikini or lay on the beach topless. I think the article highlighted the hypocrisy of attempting to restrict women's freedoms under the guise of women freedoms. Let people wear what they want, and let's stop this stupid fascist fashion police statements.

I agree that there are millions of women out there in the world who have no choice and I think that is terrible. Islam isn't the only faith that has rules on what you wear. I know of one where women must wear long dresses and cover their heads with a symbolic cap and the men also wear simple clothes and are expected to have beards. They are called the Amish. Having such paranoid feelings against Muslims isn't going to stop these wars and attacks. If anything it will make it worse which will help nobody. And yet, if the burkini was the invention of some radical feminists with the aim of freeing swimming females from the tyranny of male gaze and valuation, then the same garment would be controversially debated in a different manner. I wonder what peoples views would be if they saw a nun at the beach? I am assuming they are now banned alongside the Burkini? (Doubt there will be many nuns gong for a dip but you get my point). The problem is, even 20 years ago going anywhere near to the beaches was unthinkable for those Muslim women in hijab. Now, thanks to burkinis they're able to enjoy the sea like their western counterparts. In most Turkish beaches for instance you see those women wearing burkinis side by side with women in bikinis.


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