After the most recent spate of terrorist attacks, France has grown increasingly protective of French culture. While the country is still welcoming to immigrants, some in France are pushing for greater assimilation of the incoming (and present) minority communities. The recent ban on the “burkini,” though, has the French population split.
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The burkini ban’s supporters say that the prohibition of the full-body swimsuits prevent Muslim women from standing out and alienating the other cultural groups on French beaches. Those opposed to the ban point out that those responsible for the ban are perpetuating a link between religious belief and terrorism.
Though the burkini has been in the news lately, this is actually an extension of France’s ban on the Burka itself, which is often seen at the beach.
It was mostly just rhetoric, though, until today. Four French cops confronted a middle-aged woman on the Promenade des Anglais beach in Nice. The woman was sunbathing close to the scene of the Bastille Day attack. The police informed the woman of the ban, and then stood by while she took off the burkini.
Witnesses say she was given a fine and a written warning.
Near by, in Cannes, another woman was fined for wearing a headscarf. The officers responding in that incident pointed pepper spray at the woman.
“I didn’t know exactly what was going on, I hadn’t really followed the controversy,” The woman told reporters. “My children were crying as they witnessed by humiliation.”
Witnesses who watched the event unfold began taunting the woman, telling her she wasn’t welcome in France and that she should return home.
‘Today we are not allowed on the beach. Tomorrow, the street? Tomorrow, we’ll be forbidden from practicing our religion at all?”
“I’m in the country of human rights. I see no trace of the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity. I am outraged that this could happen in France.”