I’d be quite opposed to the whole nonsense about ‘Muslim rights’ (just as I am to ‘Christian rights’) in a secular society. The needs of the secular society prevail. And in western Europe, around the Mediterranean, beach culture will mean bikinis, topless of possibly nude sun and sea bathing. This is the European way, and if you don’t like it, tough.
While I’m not of any faith myself, I do respect the rights of others to hold one. While I’m a naturist, I respect that it’s not a view shared by everyone. But I do expect others to respect my right to sea bathe and sunbathe nude should I want to without either comment or glares.
I do, however, think it is plain wrong that the French police are ‘forcing’ women in bikinis to disrobe on a public beach.
How retrograde a step is this?
For centuries, the way to humiliate someone was to strip them naked in public. In some parts of the world, that’s maybe still the culture. While this Muslim woman was not stripped naked, her sense of ‘public shame’ may be regarded as being the exact same form of humiliation as that experienced at different times throughout history. and reflected in modern day entertainment.
‘Integrate and be like us’, say the French. So this woman does exactly that, in a costume of her choice, while being totally accepting of a western, European beach culture that permits less clothing than her, or no clothing at all. She determines to fit into that western beach culture and is challenged by the forces of law for it. Not a particularly forward looking policy, I’d have said.
‘Wait’, wails someone, ‘she’s simply a media stooge. How convenient that someone with a good camera just happens to be just a few yards away, photographing it and subsequently making those photos available to the press. It’s just a propaganda image’.
But how stupid is the French law? I own one of these in real life, and use it in winter months…
Can I wear this in France? Might I, as the ticket issued to the woman on the French beach said, be accused of not ‘wearing an outfit respecting good morals and secularism’?
That’a how dumb this new French law is.
I suspect the French are trying to make a point here, although going about it in the wrong way. ‘After attacks on us’, it seems to run, ‘we will show who is boss in this country’. After all, the police had the opportunity today to the woman ‘you can leave the beach’. By demanding a semi strip, all under the gaze of a remarkably sharp series of photographs, France would appear to be saying ‘we will humiliate your women in public, unless you learn to accept that western ways don’t include raping or sexually assaulting wester women (i.e. in Germany or Sweden) or launching attacks on us and our way of life’. Particularly that ‘our way of life’ element of it. The police challenge the woman directly as a quid pro quo for attacks on the French way of life. Maybe it’s right, maybe it’s wrong, who knows? I’m firmly on the side of saying that it’s the wrong approach.