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PostGrenoble City Council Permits Burkini in Public Pools (Consoly Leon Arias, Spain / Canary, 05/25/22 2:52 am)
It is very difficult to reconcile secularist philosophy, so deeply rooted in France, with the presence in the country of a large and growing Muslim community. For years there have been points of friction with women's clothing.
The burkini, which allows observant Muslim women to swim without violating the norms of their religion, has once again unleashed an intense national debate, following the decision of the Grenoble City Council, governed by the Green party, to authorize it at municipal facilities starting June 1st.
What can celebrate the oppressed that celebrates its repression? It is a question that I ask myself today, after viewing some images from Grenoble. In them, dozens of Muslim women are celebrating that they will finally be able to wear a burkini in the city's public swimming pools. And the truth is that when you hear their cheers, the last thing you think about is that they are happy to be humiliated.
The women of Grenoble are not celebrating their oppression. Quite the contrary. They congratulate themselves for achieving new rights. Specifically, for having the possibility of preferring their own chains, to the freedom of others. In this way, they parade their joy through the streets and claim a victory for sisterhood, which shows that in the secular French Republic, equality ceases to prevail, so that the dogma of a sexist religion can humiliate women and not recognize their rights.
All things considered, it makes sense that this happened in France. After all, the "posh rebels" of 1968 already warned that prohibitions are usually counterproductive. The joy of the Muslim women of Grenoble is "understandable" if it is understood that for any believer freedom of worship matters more than the rights violated by their creed. And for this reason, precisely, the only thing that is not understood is the euphoria of the Westerners who celebrate with them. Those members of the Green party have voted in favor of an Islamic machismo that subjects women, in a France that embodies the values of freedom, equality and fraternity.
Certain self-proclaimed "progressives," so arrogant in their paternalism, are quick to forgive in other cultures the excesses that they do not approve of in their own. The accomplices of Islamism confuse ethnicity and religion. They dare not antagonize a foreign value system for fear of being labeled racist. And while they focus exclusively on the evils of "Western heteropatriarchal capitalism," they give a pass to a much more restrictive belief system, a religion that has never bowed (as Christianity has done) to the values of democratic liberalism, on which the much-claimed human rights rest.
The consequence of all this is just as pernicious, since it allows a series of parties from the opposite extreme to take over the debate, fueling conspiracy theories in the public opinion, and continuing to spread fear abroad. That not all Muslims are fanaticized is as real as that there are some who are. Perhaps it is good to take seriously the fact that before respect for a belief, there is respect for the values on which our democracy rests, the one that claims equality between women and men. Such values would not tolerate under any circumstances that a symbol of submission could take root in its heart.
JE comments: How do you draw the line between human rights and religious freedom? The Grenoble decision need not be controversial, as it doesn't limit anyone's rights. Moreover, according to this Guardian piece, men in Grenoble will be allowed in the pool with loose-fitting trunks instead of the previously required Speedo--this strikes me as a win for all! And on the opposite side of the swimwear wars, women will now be permitted to bathe topless.