Banning the burkini

Banned in France

Banned in France

The “burkini” is Muslim swimwear; more burqa than bikini, it enables gals to get wet while still covered. Some French jurisdictions have banned it.

Allowed in France

Allowed in France

French women on beaches go practically naked. Bare skin has long been permitted; but now it is compulsory. Am I alone in finding this bizarro?

The burkini bans follow France’s ban on the burqa. They claimed police need the ability to identify people in public. That’s disingenuous; a reasonable law could simply require face-baring if requested by an officer. Why not be honest about the real reason for the burqa ban: they see it as reflecting a culture that regards women differently.

True, women wearing burqas often do so in subjugation to men, and that’s bad. However, some wear them out of choice, however misguided that might seem, and in any case, this is a matter between women and their husbands or fathers, in which this libertarian doesn’t think government should interfere. Except to protect women from violence if they go against their menfolk.

Everyone should be free to wear what they choose. This includes religious garb; indeed, in this first-amendment country, it especially includes that. We don’t ban people from wearing crosses or yarmulkas; nor should we ban burqas.

images-4Or burkinis. It does seem perverse that France allows immodesty on beaches but won’t allow modesty. This is discriminatory and mean-spirited toward Muslim women, effectively banning them from beaches. France also bans even headscarves in schools.

America seems to do better than Europe at integrating Muslims into society. Don’t be misled by a certain sulphurous presidential candidate and his fans. They are really outside the U.S. mainstream, which is fundamentally open and tolerant, genuinely believing in our founding ideal of personal liberty, and seeing strength and richness in diversity. Read George Washington’s letter embracing as part of America a Rhode Island Jewish congregation (which must then have appeared more foreign and exotic than do Muslims today).

Maybe France, facing repeated acts of violence by disaffected Muslims, should rethink its attitude toward its own Muslim citizens. France’s president says it’s at war. Take care it’s not a civil war.

UPDATE: Since I got this ready to post, news has come that a French court has overturned the burkini bans.

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2 Responses to “Banning the burkini”

  1. Dennis Says:

    Thanks for referencing the George Washington 1790 letter to the “Hebrew Congregation at Newport” – that’s the Touro Synagogue, the oldest standing synagogue in the U.S. Washington’s letter has a few memorable phrases that support your views. Thanks. By the way, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation there are more incidences of skin cancer than heart, prostate, lung, and colon cancers combined….so if “Allowed in France” needs some help in applying sunscreen, I am ready to be of service.

  2. rationaloptimist Says:

    Does your wife know about this?

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