The burkini is rather more than a peculiar bathing costume, being both a test of the Western freedom to dress as one wishes and part of the Islamic campaign to make the misogynist manifestations of sharia law both commonplace and unremarkable
Public nudity or near nudity and outrageously lewd behaviour on Main Street in the cold light of day might bring the constabulary into play. Of course all kinds of questions arise as to how nude or lewd you are allowed to be. These are questions that Western societies have wrestled with for a long time, and it is true to say that what you can get away with now would have shocked our forbears.
On the other side of the coin, I doubt whether in the history of mankind there has ever been a mandate to restrict the extent to which people can cover up when in purely public places. Widow’s weeds never caused a stir. And quite right too, you might concur. In the normal course of daily life the law has no business telling anybody to partially disrobe.
Here’s the rub. If society brings the law into play to restrict the extent to which people can cover up in public it has to be derivative of other broader laws put in place to protect society from serious harm. Overdress laws cannot pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Not in our tolerant and free Western societies they can’t. Thus Nice and other French towns which are attempting to ban the so-called burkini predictably find it tough going.
The argument is made that Muslim women must be protected from a medieval patriarchal oppression which forces them to cover up. Unfortunately, if asked, that Muslim woman on the beach in Nice, forced to partially disrobe by the police, would say that her choice of garb that day was hers and hers alone. Without the benefit of mind-reading how can we insist otherwise?
Of course oppression can be insidious, working its way into the minds of the oppressed so that they come to regard their subservient status as normal. We might believe that this has happened to many women in Islamic societies. If so, little can be done about it short of Muslim women rising up like latter-day suffragettes. There are already laws on the books preventing one person from harassing and threatening another.
By the way, the woman on the beach would also deny that she is a small part of the Islamic campaign to push sharia law; and, in this case, in the very place in July where 86 people were killed and many more injured in the name of Islam. It is shameful on its face, but she would deny having a political motive. Common sense tells us otherwise, but that doesn’t help.
What we have at the moment in France and Belgium and in other European countries is a lot of huffing and puffing with no end product worth a tinker’s cuss. Trying to ban items of clothing is tokenism at best. And it’s easily turned around into a charge that it is an Islamophobic attack on the freedom of Muslim women.
Uncomfortable introspection is required. Why, really, is wearing the burka, hijab, niqab, or burkini an affront to French values? In truth, it is not in itself. I am sure that there are numbers of people in France, as elsewhere, who for one reason or other wear unusual clothes. What really is an affront to French and all Western values is a religion which preaches supremacism, intolerance and violence and which, by so doing, threatens public safety and, ultimately, the peace, security and stability of the state. If this threat were cloaked in anything but a religion it would have been countered long ago.
Islam as a religion is a Trojan horse — the best ever devised — inside of which is a political and societal ideology inimical to Western values. Uncomfortable action is required. This action does not start with banning outward symbols of Islam. That action is tenable only if Islam, as it is currently practiced, is itself outlawed. The case for doing so would have to be made. But that would not be too hard. The very scripture itself and the mayhem it is creating around the world is conclusive evidence enough.
I should be clear. There is nothing amiss in people wanting to go on worshiping a prophet called Muhammad and a god called Allah. That is religious freedom and should be protected. But you cannot countenance insurrection simply because it is cloaked in religion. It is worth again, and again, repeating the extraordinary and confronting words of President el Sisi of Egypt; words which must thoroughly confuse apologists for the religion of peace:
“That thinking – I am not say ‘religion’ but ‘thinking’ – that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. It’s antagonizing the entire world! Is it possible that 1.6 billion people should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants –that is 7 billion – so that they themselves may live? Impossible!”
If it is good enough for President el Sisi, it should be good enough even for the limp-wrists that occupy power in Western democracies. The “corpus of Islamic texts and ideas that have been sacralized” threaten our existence. Exactly what must Islamists do besides encouraging and committing murder and mayhem before action is taken at source? We are not dealing with an obscure cult. We are dealing with millions upon millions of people inside Western democracies wedded to an antagonistic and supremacist ideology. It is passed on through schools and mosques in every major centre of population. If it is allowed to continue to metastasize it will take over.
Terribly sorry, old boy, we should say, but you just can’t continue expressing open allegiance to an ideology which is intent on our destruction and subjugation. To wit, this kind of thing in your scripture just isn’t on:
They long that ye should disbelieve even as they disbelieve that ye may be on a level with them. So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back to enmity then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend or helper from them (The Koran 4.89)
You have the option, we should emphasise, of openly embracing our values of equality, tolerance and freedom under the law of the land or of keeping shtum or of leaving. But discordant messages contained in much of your scripture, which strike at the foundations of our civilization, can no longer be broadcast in mosques, schools or anywhere else.
Or, of course, alternatively, we can be saps and accept our fate and begin saving up to pay the jizya. Feminists might want to notch down their stridency. Homosexuals and the sexually confused might want to consider aversion therapy.