August 28, 2016 by gregrabidoux2013
Barbecues. Burgers. Beach.
And, apparently, Burkinis.
Sacre bleu, What?
You know, Burkinis, the combination Burqa and Bikini that is sweeping French beaches and is now being exported right here in the US of A.
Okay, let’s fill in a few bathing beauty gaps here.
Several cities in France, including Nice, have passed local laws banning Burkinis. For the uninitiated, these are essentially full head to ankle clothing with only part of the face visible that women, predominantly, Muslim women, wear to go swimming. To public beaches and pools. From their perspective, they are being faithful to their faith (in nearly all sects of Islamic religion, women must remain nearly fully covered up in public and swimming, especially swimming that traditionally calls for people to shed clothes, is no exception.
From the French local authorities perspective, jumping in beach or pool water fully clothed is not hygienic. Hence, the ban.
Now, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and candidate is calling for a national ban on all Burkinis across France. Supporters also point out that the Burkini is nothing more than “age old sexism and oppression of women in a modern day garb.”
His chief rival, Alain Juppe, calls such bans an attack on Muslims and at its core, a from of racism. His supporters that ay such ban is just an excuse to attack the Muslim religion and culture.
With France, and of course Belgium, Germany, Turkey and honestly, nearly all of Europe reeling from recent ISIS directed or ISIS inspired terrorist attacks and past Muslim-French officials tensions over religious grab like the Hijabs (full-face veils) and Jewish Kippas (Yarmulkes or skull-caps), this Burkini ban is no trivial matter.
Recently, the high French Court (and I mean that as in rank not their judicial mindset, at least as far as I know) ruled that these local bans are unconstitutional. However, new wording in a proposed national ban could pass legal muster.
Does any of this matter to any of us here in the US?
Well. Maybe. But it should even if it doesn’t now.
Religion and non-secular civilian life has always involved compromise in the land of the First Amendment. Religion and worship good, sacrificing animals or humans bad. Wearing religious garb and head-wear okay, if it creates a hazard or flouts military required uniform code then bad.
And very recently, the Burkini has made its way to our shores. Several areas, including Indiana is now scrambling to address what it calls a “public hygiene nuisance” at local, community pools.
Yet, activists against any such ban are quick to warn that any law that constrains Muslim religious practice may inflame a community and portions of that community that tend to use violence and terrorism when inflamed.
In other words, ban the Burkini at your and your fellow beachgoer and pool-swimmer’s own peril.
I thought of this still largely French issue the other day when I made my way to a community pool near where I live. As a resident of the area I have my pool pass and so can swim to my heart’s content as can other residents. Of any and all or no religious persuasion.
On this particular day as I did my best Michael Phelps impression and came up for air after a lap I noticed 2 Indian women fully dressed in complete traditional Indian grab from head to toe enter the pool. My first thought was “Gee, is it laundry day at the pool or what?” My next thought was “Oh, yeah, this is yet another reason I normally avoid community pools.” And then my final thought was “I wonder, is this religious, convenience or maybe, their version of the Burkini?”
I did check with the manager afterwards if they had any policy about swimmers essentially swimming completely and fully clothed for whatever reason. The response was pretty much “I don’t know. We don’t really have a policy but we don’t want to anger anyone.”
Now, look, anyone who has ever swum at the beach or any public pool knows that between babies, kids, people who never bathe or shower before they jump in and animals, especially dogs whose owners always think it’s cute when they let them in the water and people who figure the “chlorine will fix anything” swimming in a pool is just darned hazardous.
Sharing your swim lane with a fully clothed Burkini Beauty may just be one more factor to weigh before plunging in the deep end.
Yet, this does feel different doesn’t it?
I respect that the swimmer next to me worships in a far different way than I but still, it just seems to me that the whole point of going to the beach or the pool is to put a little space between you and your rather warm and constraining clothes. Especially, in the blazing August sun. Of course, some supporters of the Burkini Ban are also pushing for a ban on what they call “shameful bathers” or in other words folks that they think should maybe not shed their clothes.
I’m not ready to go that far.
But that might just be me.
One thing’s for sure-Aheda Zanetti, the inventor of the Burkini is laughing all the way to her Swiss Bank Account as sales of her Burkini continue to skyrocket.
See ya at the pool. And, hey, I don’t want to be a “Burquaphobe” but I will
be the one trying to decide if it’s safe or not to take the plunge.
And please keep the dogs at home. I got enough to deal with already.