Beautiful beaches, extravagant wealth and the Cannes Film Festival are some of the biggest attractions in this beautiful city located on the French Riviera. But recently, none of those are the reasons that it has gained a lot of publicity. With the recent attacks in France, the city has taken matters in its own hands to prevent terrorism – banning Burkinis.
Burkinis is a common term referring to full body covering swimsuits for women. The Mayor of Cannes said that Burkinis were a “symbol of Islamic extremism” and thus could possibly lead to public unrest. This isn’t the first time that religious symbols were banned in France. Children attending schools are not allowed to wear religious symbols such as the cross, or a hijab or even a Jewish Kippah. In 2011, they even called a ban on niqabs and burkhas after the terror attacks.
Many human rights groups are angered by this decision as freedom of expression and religion is a sign of a democratic and developed country however France is disrespecting religion and its people by failing to acknowledge their cultures.
Other people understand where the mayor is coming from. With the recent attack in Nice where a truck driver, claiming his allegiance to ISIS, ran over 85 people and wounded more than 300, France is trying to up its security measures to save its people. But banning burkinis is not a step to prevent terrorism. In fact, it is a step towards becoming stereotypical and generalising people and religions.
Benoît Gomis says that “This decision by the mayor of Cannes illustrates a deleterious climate where amalgams between religion and terrorism are more and more frequent, and where the entire Muslim population is stigmatized.”
Featured image rights go to Sunday Times.
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