What’s behind the burkini affair?
Yes, we continue with the burkini affair. Yesterday, the Conseil d’Etat met at Paris to discuss not the legality of the clothing, but the French mayors’ right to regulate — by decree — the type of clothing women should wear on public spaces.
So, in fact, this is a political affair, based on the fear of terrorism, to prevent women to use whatever they want on the beach, just because it’s different.
By the way, the representative of the Human Rights League, Patrice Spinosi, said the word “Burkini” is not even in the decrees. So, he fears that if the Conseil allows mayors to take such measures, these will spread to other public spaces, such as streets, libraries and transportation.
“It is very serious and very worrying that we allow mayors to regulate the use of religious symbols in all public spaces, just because there is a risk of attack and a terrorist threat today in France”, Spinosi said to the press.
During the public hearing — in which we the journalists weren’t allowed to take pictures or record — , the phrase “not just because France is hurt by terrorism, should we lose the compass and do whatever it feels like safe”, was said.
By contrast François Pinatel, the State representative, claimed that these decrees are intended to prevent public disorder, and are necessary in this case.
“If we wait until there are blows and injuries to take administrative enforcement measures, it will be too late. There was a climate of strong tension and fear, which led to the adoption of a decree, which has so far avoided any alteration of public order, ie, that served its purpose and objective”, he said.
The problem is this decision will set a precedent. The risk is that, eventually, mayors might take any excuse to enact new regulations against a sector of the population — the french muslims — that already feels threatened.
(NOTE: I take the photo from Libération because I could’t find an open source picture, and I’m not a photographer anyway. Any advise on how to deal with problems alike are welcome).