|Mao Zedong decreed that everybody should dress the same in China.|
I don’t like them, mostly because I feel that people should not be regimented. Wearing a uniform is loss of freedom, just like being in the army or in prison. Plus, people wearing that kind of garb seem to be yearning to go backwards – to 7century Arabia or to 17 century Poland – rather than forwards.
In recent weeks, several municipalities in France have decreed a ‘burkini ban’ – meaning that women using public beaches are fined if they wear that ‘Islamised’ type of costume. Even more recently, a French ‘administrative court’ – whatever that is – has banned the ban. Yet, apparently, the story is not over yet: some of the mayors involved (and quite a few national politicians who jumped on the bandwagon) have vowed to overturn the suspension that suspended the ban that banned the burkini… you know how it goes!
|Even some burqa-inspired garb looks |
trendy when Italians design it!
It’sbecause, just as people should not be told what clothes to wear, they shouldn’t be told what to wear. It is even more wrong because one distinctive garb was singled out and banned. Yes, I know there are ‘reasons’ – there always are; but no: there are no excuses for double standards. Or, rather, there are only dishonest excuses.
The burkini ban is, because it completely lacks purpose. What exactly is it supposed to achieve? Will it prevent the radicalisation of young Muslims? How exactly? Which of France’s recent terrorist attacks would have been prevented, had the burkini bans been in place?
Finally – and worst of all – the burkini ban is a populist. This trifle of an ‘issue’ deflects attention from the very real and grave concerns: the radicalisation of young Muslims, the religious extremism which begets intolerance and terrorism.
The ban is not just a golden opening for political demagogues – of every tinge – to burnish their credentials; it’s also a cop out for everybody: an excellent excuse to duck the real challenges, while furiously debating a marginal issue. What a superb opportunity for doing nothing – with great determination!
Even worse – the motivations are, let’s face it, obviously racist. Granted, there was no obligation for the French state to open its borders and its population registry to a wide variety of people – including some who have not exactly been raised up in the spirit of ‘liberté, egalité, fraternité’. But once they did let them in, once they recognised them as French citizens, they can’t tell them what they are allowed to wear, now can they?
‘Special laws’ for one category of people? Haven’t we seen that before, somewhere? A bylaw is still a law. And singling out one particular category of French citizens deserves just one name: no, it’s not ‘love of nudity’ – it’s ‘naked racism’!
Nor am I particularly surprised: in the latest elections for the European Parliament, the far-right Front National won a third of the votes. And those European Elections took place in 2014, before the latest bout of jihadist terrorism that hit France. (Contrary to popular belief, theEuropean Parliament elections are the best indicator of people’s real political opinions, which are masked by plurality election systems based on geographic constituencies.)
So much for the far-right. There is, of course, quite a bit of far-left racism in France (and elsewhere in Europe). In the process of crowning them as ‘oppressed’ and hence in perpetual need of their rights being ‘defended’ by Good (Marxist) Samaritans, the far-left denies Muslims their God-given agency; it infantilises them. When it comes to Muslims, far-rightists demand a higher standard than for anyone else; far-leftists set the standards lower than for anyone else. Both positions are racist because both deny Muslims their status asmembers of the human race – with rights and obligations everyone else has.
|Prefers not to wear hijab (but wouldn’t be fined if she did): |
Noura Abu-Shanab, an Arab Israeli and captain
of the women football team Hapoel Petah Tikva.
If you are a Muslim in Israel, you are entitled to have your personal status matters (such as marriage and divorce) adjudicated according to Shari’a – the Islamic law. The (traditional Islamic judges) receive their salaries from the state budget, as do the dayanim – their Judaic counterparts; and the Jewish State will apply the decision of the Shari’a court just as it does with that of a Beth Din – the traditional Rabbinical court. French Muslims can only dream of that level of freedom and consideration.
|An Israeli beach: the way to heaven is a matter of opinion...|