French Riviera’s burqini ban: Don’t-show-so-we-don’t-know that you’re Muslim
Rashmee Roshan Lall
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Thanks for your response to the piece, Fredinho.

I don’t dispute most of the points you make — indeed, France has the right to its own cultural ‘landscape’ and ‘the view’ (of people and places) so to speak. It’s true too that young second-and-third generation immigrants are trying to make a point with their appurtenances and attitudes.

I simply think it’s rather pointless — in security terms, and possibly for social cohesion — to ban an article of clothing, especially when it has little to do with a religion per se and/or terrorism threats, and when very few Frenchwomen would probably be wearing a burqini anyway.

The reasons for the young uns’ behaviour are eternally in debate. French sociologist Olivier Roy offers an interesting suggestion. (Here’s a link to a piece I wrote for ‘The National’ explaining some of what he says: http://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/the-digital-theatre-of-war-requires-better-munitions#full)

I think it’s also not entirely accurate to say France has integrated immigrants in a seamless way, though I accept that these issues are never easy and any assessment will be subjective.

Finally, I’m sure it would be so much more peaceful if we could return to a less mixed-up world, an earlier age when travel and migration and the thrust of other people’s hopes, habits and horrible propensities didn’t matter so much. I just don’t know when exactly that might be. Even Shakespeare’s ‘Merchant of Venice’ (and Shylock’s proclivities) were based on a 14th century Italian collection of stories that presumably told of the very real travails of living in Venice, then Europe’s great moneylending laboratory. That said, modern ‘globalisation’, for want of a better word, does mean everyone from everywhere is more in evidence than before. Or apparently so.

As you say, things are not black and white. They never are.