Photographs of at least four armed French policemen standing around a woman on the beach and forcing her to take off her burkini has incensed people all over the world.
Is this laïcité? Is this what being liberal looks like? Men forcing women to take clothes off? https://t.co/NOT4IcvuF5— Aisha S Gani (@aishagani) August 23, 2016
I'm still not clear how the Burkini is a terrorism threat. Did the French confuse "portmanteau" with "terrorist"?— Sami Shah (@samishah) August 24, 2016
Now France has its own Mutaween, parading around and deciding what women can and cannot wear in public. https://t.co/ijYNeJxCrF— Patrick French (@PatrickFrench) August 24, 2016
What Liberté and Egalité mean in France: police officers force a Muslim woman on a beach in Cannes to bare her skin: https://t.co/gSXH2UwdcI— Laila Lalami (@LailaLalami) August 23, 2016
Not sure how a group of armed men demanding a woman to undress in public is somehow 'progressive,' France. https://t.co/nlg9RWiWvG— Mehreen Kasana (@mehreenkasana) August 23, 2016
Authorities in several French towns have implemented bans on the garment, which covers the body and head, over concerns about religious clothing in the wake of recent terrorist killings in the country.
She was given a ticket, which, according to the French news agency AFP, cited she was not wearing “an outfit respecting good morals and secularism.”
“I was sitting on a beach with my family,” said the 34-year-old who gave only her first name, Siam. “I was wearing a classic headscarf. I had no intention of swimming.”
Mathilde Cousin, who was also present on the beach and witnessed the whole incident, said, “The saddest thing was that people were shouting ‘go home,’ some were applauding the police.”
“Her daughter was crying,” she added.
The ban on the burkini — a full-body swimsuit designed for Muslim women — was initiated by a number of French beach resorts earlier this month. Authorities who issued the ban provided a list of reasons including security, hygiene and, most of all, coercion of Muslim women.
Muslim women, however, have disapproved of the ban, saying it’s discriminatory since it robs them of the choice as to how to cover their bodies.
Those still daring to wear the burkini have had to pay fines.
The ban, however strict it may be, is backfiring massively.
Izzeddin Elzir, an imam in Florence, Italy, posted the following photo on his Facebook page:
The photo shows a group of Catholic nuns fully dressed in traditional habits and veils joyfully bathing in the sea.
“I just wanted get people to stop and think. That’s why I posted the photo alone, without writing a single word. I didn’t want to take sides but rather to spur a healthy debate,” he said.
Aheda Zanetti, the designer of the garment, claims sales for it were up by 200 percent as more and more women are buying it to make a point.
Zanetti believes the swimsuits represented freedom and healthy living — not oppression. The dress was created to allow Muslim women to participate in the beach lifestyle.
"I wanted my girls to grow up to have that freedom of choice," she said.
"I don't care if they want to have a bikini. It's their choice,” she added. "No man in this entire world can tell us what to wear or what not to wear."