Banning of the Burkini

Posted on December 13, 2016 by


The greater access to world news via social media has sparked many controversial topics worldwide. With the help of viral videos and photos a story can go from local to nationwide in hours. This situation occurred when the story of banning burkinis in Nice, France went viral. Various media sources that are popular in the United States focused their attention on the case. Sources intentions vary from understanding the popularity of this case to investigating the reasoning behind it. Although the ordinances did not mention Islam or burkinis, it was clear that the laws were a result of the recent terrorist attacks.

The case concerning the banning of the burkini was the town of Villeneuve- Loubet. The case was the Mayor against the Human Rights League. The Mayor of Villeneuve- Loubet defended his ruling saying the burkini is a security risk as well as a risk to public order. The ruling was overturned by the Council of State who declared it violated religious freedoms. When the media got ahold of this story it started conversations around the world.

CNN touches on this being a clear sign of islamophobia that is not going to go away anytime soon. The photo of the police man instructing the women to remove part of her clothing ignited protests and criticism when the photo went viral. The photo has three officers surrounding a woman who seems to be complying with their demands. The fact that she’s alone makes her look, in a way, defenseless. “These bans do nothing to increase public safety, but do a lot to promote public humiliation,”(CNN). This statement made by Amnesty International Europe Director aids in the way you look at the cop, like a bully. The release of this photo created a divided opinion around the globe. ABC News has a similar article, focusing on the viral photos, stating that France has always had bans on veils. Both sources emphasize the photo involvement in the case. france_1472020793

ABC News also discussed the idea of feminism as a defense of the ban. Some people perceive the Islamic dress as a way of holding women back. The Prime Minister called the burkini an “enslavement of women”. He then goes on to say the swimsuit is a, ”translation of a political project…notably founded on the servitude of women”. India Today goes on to say some people see the whole body having to be covered oppressive towards women. The other half of this defense is that there is already a ban on covering the face in public places. PBS goes on to say that some people see the burkini as a veil connected to a swimsuit. Secularism was proposed as a compromise that was not to discriminate any specific religion. (PBS)

Fox News debates this conversation of Secularism and says most people see it as a form of Islamophobia. The purpose of secularism was to regulate the behavior of Muslims. Some have a fear that Islam is “slowly gnawing at the fabric of French society”. The Mayor of Villeneuve-Loubet voices his fears by saying he “denounces rampant Islamisation” (Fox).  

The New York Times echoed the theme of fear stating that the banning had nothing to do with Islamic dress. They go on to say the ban is a protection of Frances non-Muslim majority who do not want to confront the changing world.  Terrence G. Peterson, a professor at Florida International University who studies France’s relationship with the Muslim world says that France is going through an identity crisis. He says that by giving Muslims a narrower rigid identity, the ban is meant to prevent the “widening” of French identity. He goes on the state that the traditional French identity wants to remain not only dominant but also as the sole cultural identity in France. The choice to widen the national identity is up to the French says Professor Peterson. (New York Times).

 This is not the first time banning the burkini and other religious attire has been a major topic of discussion in France. In 2004 a law was passed prohibiting Muslim headscarves and other religious symbols in classrooms.  National Front Leader Marine Le Ren wants to amend this law by including all public places, not just classrooms (Fox). The overturn on the burkini ban has ignited talk of more restrictive laws against religious apparel and symbols. The Medias curiosity continues to highlight the case and bring several different perspectives on the ban.






“Burkini Ban: Police in Nice Force Woman to Remove Part of Clothing.” CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 2016.

“Burkini Ban: Police in Nice Force Woman to Remove Part of Clothing.” CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web.  2016.

“Burkinis on Beaches Stoke France’s Long Debate on Secularism.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 23 Aug. 2016. Web.  2016.

“French Court Overturns ‘burkini Ban’ Laws after Public Outcry.” PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 12 2016.

Taub, Amanda. “France’s ‘Burkini’ Bans Are About More Than Religion or Clothing.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 19 Aug. 2016. Web. 2016.

“What Made French Police Order a Muslim Woman to Take off Her Burkini in Public?” FYI, News – India Today. India Today, 24 Aug. 2016. Web. 2016.


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