Compared with the problem of radicalisation in jails, the burkini ban was a distraction, but an all-too-familiar one.
So, after all the sound and fury, the burkini fiasco est fini. On Friday, the French courts overturned the ban, once again allowing women to wear whatever they want on the beaches and poolsides of France. The French embassy protesters, tweeters and social media activists can go home. Quelle victory for liberté, égalité, and sororité! Or is it?
Certainly the ban was an assault on freedom of expression and clearly it was discriminatory against Muslim women, given that neither Catholic nuns in their habits nor women of European origin with sensitive skin – were forced to strip at the beach. But it is a small victory in the face of absurdity: a problem that should never have been. It is a case, as we say in Farsi, of “being sent to find black peas”: a distraction from the real issues at the root of the debate.
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