After French coastal towns issued a ban on burkinis there has been a lot of backlash online.
A burkini is a full body swimming suit that is commonly worn by Muslim women to allow them to swim in public whilst maintaining their religious dress code.
Nice is the most recent French seaside town to impose the ban bringing the total to 15 seaside towns.
The political row intensified when a video surfaced of a Muslim women on the beach in Nice was forced to remove her clothes whilst armed police towered over her. Many pictures and videos of surfaced of similar situations occurring throughout France.
The pictures showing the woman removing her religious dress provoked outrage online and amongst socialist and human rights activists with one user tweeting, “I am so ashamed.”
— Tanya Burr (@TanyaBurr) August 24, 2016
— Ed Burke (@iamedburke) August 24, 2016
Former French President Sarkozy stated in a television interview that Muslims in France are French people and should “assimilate the french language and way of life.”
The bans were issued in response to the recent attacks in Nice and the murder of a french priest in Normandy. The ban is meant to promote secularism in France. The decree is to ban “beachwear which ostentatiously displays religious affiliation.” This claim has sparked debate as Catholic nuns are free to wear their religious dress on the beach without interruption.
— Helen Prowse (@hlp) August 25, 2016
Aheda Zanetti the creator of the ‘burkini’ said, “I created the burkini to give women freedom, not to take it away.” Aheda explain in an article written for the Guardian that anyone can wear the burkini “Christian, Jewish, Hindus. It’s a garment to suit a modest person, or someone who has skin cancer, or a new mother who doesn’t want to wear a bikini, it’s not symbolising Islam.”
The hashtag #BurkiniBan was trending worldwide as people debated the new french law. We analysed the reaction using the Adoreboard engine to uncover the emotional reaction behind the hashtag. The Adorescore for #BurkiniBan was a negative -20 with the top high intensity emotions being loathing and grief. These emotions evoked from the reaction online are not surprising as people are upset that Muslim women are being forced to undress or abandon their religious beliefs in such public way. Loathing stems from people’s anger towards the new rules and the action taken by Police.
The burkini ban has prompted a heated debate around the world at how the French rule of secularism is being twisted and distorted too far in an attempt to single out and target Muslims.
Editors Note: Since this blog was publish it has been announced that the Burkini Ban has been temporarily suspended by the Highest Court in France. The Ban will be debated and revisited in the coming days.