SHAFAQNA – Following a series of violent attacks by militants whom have claimed to be loyal to Daesh, aka ISIL, France has been looking for effective counter-terror measures to protect both its citizens and its way of life.
While many, most of all the French might have expected measures in tune with the gravity of the situation, David Lisnard, the mayor of Cannes (seaside Mediterranean town) chose to legislate over fashion to curb radicalism.
Starting this August, Cannes will no longer allow for Muslim women to wear the burkini – Islamic swimsuit; a decision which officials have promised will help promote and protect France secular traditions.
Shafaqna asked Mayor David Lisnard to elaborate on the ban.
SHAFAQNA – Mayor Lisnard would you mind explaining to our readers the reasoning behind such a ban? Why the burkini? And actually why such a desire to single out Muslim women? Are burkinis that offensive to French sensitivity that they had to be criminalise?
MAYOR DAVID LISNARD – This is not about discrimination but about the affirmation of France republican values. Our message is clear – When in France comply to France’s rule, and burkinis I’m afraid to say are a sign of radicalisation. Radicalisation is a big issue and we have to take all necessary measures to combat it.
SHAFAQNA – So you’re saying that for women to express their republican values and secularism nudity is compulsory, and that modesty equates radicalism?
MAYOR DAVID LISNARD – No! I’m saying that women should not be forced to comply to an outdated and repressive code of conduct. Women in Islam are quite often oppressed. Women in Islamic countries have little to no rights at all. France will not stand by that. We want to promote democratic values and respect for our republican legal system.
SHAFAQNA – You say Islam imposes rules on women, but isn’t it what you are doing with your ban – calling on women to abide by your rules and your code of conduct? While I do agree that countries like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Sudan have bene violently repressive against women this has little to do with Islam, and everything to do with Wahhabism.
Moreover, Islam calls for the emancipation of women, not repression, and certainly not oppression. How can you call yourself democratic and legislate over women’s clothing, demanding that they show flesh? What makes you think that women need to be told what to do? Why can’t you fathom that women, Muslim women are quite capable of choosing for themselves?
Do you realise that women in Islam are offered and guaranteed the right to choose – which is more than I can say for your secular society. If Muslim women have been repressed, such repression is not religiously sanction. I would say that your understanding of Islam and your views on women are rather limited and I must add chauvinistic.
MAYOR DAVID LISNARD – We have seen too many terror attacks in our country not to tackle the issue of radicalisation. This has nothing to do with chauvinism. Our communities need to accept that France is a secular republic and that outwardly religious signs are not welcome.
SHAFAQNA – Explain to me how burkinis and radicalism are linked? Don’t you think that there are other, more productive ways to tackle as you say radicalism? Maybe review your friendship with Saudi Arabia for example. Women there are no more than commodities, and yet you are quite happy renting your beaches and your security apparatus to its royal princes … Don’t their fashion sense upset your republican sensitivity?
MAYOR DAVID LISNARD – This is a complete matter altogether … I stand by my decision to ban burkinis