Stepping into the Burkini row
Opinion: This odd news concerns the Burkini beach ban in France and reactions to a copycat stunt on a beach in Britain.
Following a series of deadly incidents with links to self-styled terrorist organisation Islamic State a ban on women wearing the "burkini" on French beaches was implemented. It has been overturned after a court challenge but some local councils will still try to prevent women wearing the burkini.
"Last week, France's highest court ruled the ban illegal and said it constituted a "serious and manifestly illegal violation of fundamental freedoms", but at least 20 mayors subsequently said they would defy that ruling."
What is the Burkini?
The Burkini is beachwear that covers more of a woman than traditional 21st century beachwear. For me it looks like a tunic with leggings worn with a type of head scarf.
It is not that different to women's beachwear from the early 1900s.
In my opinion it looks just as attractive on a young slender woman as other beachwear and on the rest of us looks fine. It covers no more of the body than a wetsuit and the conclusion has to be it was banned as a burkini somehow psychologically poses a perceived threat to western values.
In France one young woman was forced to remove her burkini by gun carrying police. To be fair all police in France are armed. But its was a bad look to send around the world resulting in the ban being lifted.
The French cop story quickly went viral though there are now allegations it was a set up.
In the UK this August Bank Holiday weekend a small group of people put the burkini police response to the test.
Middle East Eye reports "Actors recreated scene of 'police officer' ordering a Muslim woman to remove full-length swimsuit to see how others on beach reacted."
Last weekend at Southend-on-Sea a male actor dressed in a police unifirm confronted a female actor dressed in a Burkini demanding she removed the garment.
But we British citizens are a funny bunch and overall we like fair play and respect.
""You can't wear it at the beach. You are wearing it because you are oppressed," the fake police officer tells the woman. He then grabs the woman's head covering and tries to pull it off. But it isn't long before a crowd has gathered around to protest, with one woman telling the 'officer', "You can't do that. It's religious. You cannot discriminate her against her religion.""
One difference is our police officers are not routinely armed but they do carry tasers and truncheons.
But the offended crowd still acted bravely in challenging the man they thought was a police officer.
We watched it on TV news initially thinking it was a genuine news report of an officer and a member of the public and were very angry.
There is still hope then but sadly Islamophobia is on the increase eveywhere and that includes Britain.
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