Last month, the highest court in France upheld a ban on burkinis in the southeastern city of Grenoble, after a local court initially suspended the controversial policy.
During a close-call vote, the local court scrapped old laws which prohibited Muslim women from wearing the one-piece swimsuit until it was appealed the following month which prompted the U-turn by the French courts.
Fatima Bent of Muslim feminist group Lallab spoke of the recent ruling, saying: “Muslim women are not homogenous. [French authorities] look at Muslim women through a single prism.” She blamed a leftover colonial-era “fixation with the body of Muslim women by politicians who want to control them.”
The burkini has been a topic of debate throughout the country for the past decade or so, but in more recent years, it has become a symbol of rebellion by Muslim women to stand against the obvious Islamophobia perpetuated by French lawmakers.
In 2016, when the news of the burkini ban first came around, it was quickly slammed as ‘discriminatory’ but within a few years (and after intense propaganda), the legislation slipped through. At the time, the Guardian reported that as an outcome of the ban, photographs emerged of armed French police “confronting a woman on a beach and making her remove some of her clothing as part of a controversial ban on the burkini.”
The images of police confronting the woman in Nice showed at least four police officers standing over a woman and forcing her to remove a blue long-sleeved tunic in front of other beachgoers.
This was the first of many incidents that followed.
Grenoble’s recent ruling just puts into perspective just how obsessed French lawmakers are with Muslim women showing their bodies. It’s time to leave Muslim women alone.