French Prime Minister Manuel Valls responded to a New York Times article that quotes French Muslim women saying that they feel discriminated against in the most offensive way possible.
In a Huffington Post editorial, Valls explains that, “Women are free,” but the burkini is “not an insignificant bathing suit,” but, instead, “a provocation of radical Islam, which is emerging and wants to impose itself in the public space!”
France has been the subject of news headlines around the world as many watch proposed burkini bans emerge throughout the country, only to be struck down. However, some have tried to violate a French court’s orders that mayors cannot institute burkini bans. The ruling came after law enforcement officers forced a woman on a French beach to take off certain items of clothing publicly as the result of a burkini ban.
In his editorial, Vall claims,
We must have open eyes to the growing influence of salafism, which contends that women are inferior and impure and that they must be sidelined. This was the question, absolutely not anecdotal, that was at the center of the debate around the burkini and the burqa. It is not an insignificant bathing suit. It is a provocation of radical Islam, which is emerging and wants to impose itself in the public space!
Rather than accept the growing islamaphobia in France, Vall blamed the international press for not understanding France’s quest for “freedom and equality.”
Constantly reading the international press, I have seen how a large number among them have hastily concluded that this is stigmatization, and an act against the freedom of Muslims to practice their religion. But come on! It is precisely for freedom that we are fighting.
We are fighting for the freedom of women who should not have to live under the yoke of a chauvinist order. The female body is neither pure nor impure; it is the female body. It does not need to be hidden to protect against some kind of temptation. See the unbelievable reversal: in the cited accounts, the burkini is presented as a tool of women’s liberation! We can read the following there: “When the burkini appeared, I was happy for my sister, who was on vacation and could finally play on the beach with her children rather than needing to stay in the shadows.” For another, to wear the veil signifies: “the reappropriation of the body and its femininity…” It’s masculine domination that has been completely integrated here!
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