Sarkozy: France Must Ban Burkini
At the launch of his campaign for the French Presidency, Nicholas Sarkozy has stated that the Burkini must be banned. The Burkini is a swimsuit based on Islamic ideals about modest dress. They cover the body apart from the face, hands and feet. Sarkozy’s remarks come at a time when the issue of Burkini’s is politically charged. Several French towns have banned the Burkini, prompting debate and protest.
The Burkini was first developed in Australia and has been widely available for some years. It first provoked political reaction in 2009. On that occasion a woman was forbidden from entering a swimming pool, in France, as a result of wearing the Burkini. On that occasion, the reason given was that it resembled street wear. As such, it was not a permissible item of clothing in the pool.
Burkini’s have caused political division in the wake of atrocities in France. As a result of these, some French Mayors have issued bans on the wearing of the Burkini in public. In recent days this has prompted dismay as the ban appears to have been enforced on some beaches.
In his speech, Sarkozy has said:
I refuse to let the burkini impose itself in French beaches and swimming pools…there must be a law to ban it throughout the Republic’s territory,
In my speech there is no fear, there is no hatred, there is just common sense, the French people are not fascist because they consider there are security problems. I want the French to feel they are protected.
Issues relating to religious attire are longstanding in France. The French Republic is secular in nature. It accepts religion but does not promote it. This stems from laws established to limit the influence of the Roman Catholic Church. The secular state and it’s relationship with the church(es) was formalised in 1905.
Laws were passed in 2004 that banned the wearing of religious clothing in any public school. The Burqa and Niqab, two forms of Islamic head dress, were both made illegal in France in 2011.