Muslim women have a lot to celebrate when it comes to living in the west. The right to higher level education, the right to an independent lifestyle, and the right to modesty are just few of the many things they can rejoice. And with the invention of the burkini a few years ago, Muslim women can now even spend a day at the beach wearing the full-body bathing suit, all while eating that extra slice of pizza. Because coverage.
However, up until this morning, planning a European getaway in the most romantic country in the world would have likely left you feeling otherwise. Beaches were being patrolled by police after several cities on France’s Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts banned the burkini.
The ban followed a number of terrorist attacks that took place in the country over the last couple of years, most recently occurring just last month. Conveniently, France’s secular political class said the burkini subjugates women and is incompatible with a country whose motto celebrates equality and freedom. The logic behind the ban also stemmed from security concerns, because according to French men, no day at the beach is complete for Muslim women until they bring their weapons and explosives hidden under their fitted suits.
At first, you may have seen the ban as slightly amusing. ‘So ridiculous, its funny.’ However, France strongly implemented the ban, as the world saw just a couple of days ago when the now infamous photographs of armed French police confronting a woman on a beach, making her remove some of her clothing. The incident caused a media frenzy, dividing the world in two; with one side not being able to see the logic behind the ban, and the other side looking to implement the ban in their own cities.
On behalf of Muslim women, I can ensure you that the only thing that’s being hidden under these burkinis are a treasure of secrets and pearls of wisdom that they have acquired from decades of life experience. Thankfully, like the rest of the world, many non-Muslim women have evidently realized the convenience of the burkini, as some retailers have actually experienced an increase in sales since the ban. International debates ensued and political and religious tensions increased.
After several think pieces, blogs and contradictory images of both men and women dressed in what is essentially a wet suit, France’s highest administrative court, the Conseil d’État, overturned the so-called burkini bans in 26 of the country’s coastal towns and cities just this morning.
The court struck down both arguments for the bans: It ruled that the burkini is neither an insult to the equality of women nor a harbinger of terrorism. The attempts to ban it, the judges maintained, insulted “fundamental freedoms” such as the “freedom to come and go, the freedom of conscience and personal liberty.”
Rejoice again, Muslim women. For you can, once again, celebrate the very reason you’re living in the west; freedom– and a slightly more liberal view on modesty and religious practices.
Because let’s not forget, France has still placed a ban on the niqab, or full-face veil in public, along with outlawing the headscarf and other conspicuous religious symbols in state schools. But hey, thanks for listening, France! One step at a time, right?
Veiled or not, the badassery won’t stop.