Thursday, 13 August 2009

Paris Accepts Muslims But Not Burqinis


A woman wearing a Burqini was turned away from a Paris pool on hygienic reasons, reports say.

Pool staff “reminded her of the rules that apply in all (public) swimming pools which forbid swimming while clothed,” said an official.

Hmmm...three things strike me here.

One, I wonder what hygiene rules could possibly forbid swimming while clothed. Are clothes supposed to carry more germs than the body? If yes, what about swimming clothes? Isn't the Burqini made of swimsuit material? Do they pose a health risk as well? If so, how much? Surely not a lot more than regular swimsuits. Here's an idea - why not do away with clothing altogether - you know, just to be on the safe side?

Two, the connection between this incident and the whole Islamic phobia/anti burqa stance that France seems to have.

Three, isn't it amusing that some countries prohibit stripping at a pool, while others make it mandatory. In India, most women who get into pools are fully clothed. Same story at the beach. Many women just don't feel comfortable doing something the French take for granted, like wearing western swimsuits. Maybe a little more sensitivity to cultural differences like these would have prevented this incident from ever occurring.


Here's a response from the Burqini's creator. Note the focus on the French 'fear of the unknown'.


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2 comments:

Philip said...

if there is a rule, shouldnt it be followed, irrespective of religious beliefs? Why should the rest of the people suffer (if at all hygiene was the reason why the lady was asked to leave) just because of one person's religious belief?

Afterall, no one goes to a muslim middle eastern country and set up a church/temple etc or propagate a religion other than islam.

shouldnt the woman who is complaining be fortuante that she is in France and being tolerated? In Saudi Arabia, she would have been fed to the dogs for even thinking of some dress like that?

Daniel said...

@ Philip

"if there is a rule, shouldnt it be followed, irrespective of religious beliefs?"

Oh yeah, I'm all for following the rules, but when they don't make sense it's only natural & sensible to have them challenged, right? It's about common sense, not religion.

"Why should the rest of the people suffer (if at all hygiene was the reason why the lady was asked to leave) just because of one person's religious belief?"

They shouldn't. Agree with you completely here. But again, no relevance. No one's talking about religion, just that the rule doesn't make sense.

My point is, assuming no one else is getting inconvenienced, why can't the rules be amended to accomodate that one person?

"Afterall, no one goes to a muslim middle eastern country and set up a church/temple etc or propagate a religion other than islam."

Actually, most Muslim middle eastern countries have churches :-)

But what do Islamic countries and their intolerance have to do with Paris' strange pool rules? Have I missed a connection somewhere? Are you saying that France is justified in setting up strange laws just because Islamic countries are intolerant and do the same? By that logic, I could justify killing and eating my neighbour because cannibals do it in New Guinea.

We're intelligent enough to judge right from wrong, and common sense from stupidity, on an individual basis. We don't need comparisons to figure this out.

"shouldnt the woman who is complaining be fortuante that she is in France and being tolerated? In Saudi Arabia, she would have been fed to the dogs for even thinking of some dress like that?"

Realising you're fortunate to be in a country that's better than Saudi doesn't mean you shut your mouth and let the state trample all over you with mindless rules out of gratitude. Gratitude cannot replace common sense.

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