Ibtijaj Muhammad is the American fencer who won a medal in Rio. As a modest Muslim woman she did so while wearing a Hijab. However, if she visits France she will be banned from beaches unless she goes against her religion and wears a bikini or other skimpy bathing suit.
The French have banned the Burkini, saying it is an outward display of a religious symbol that will inflame tensions. This is the worst possible reaction the French could have to the recent terrorist attacks. It drives a wedge between French Muslims and French people of other religions. That is exactly what the terrorists want.
It is also a disgrace for the French government to say that the law is really just about “religious symbols”. You can see lots of Catholic French women on beaches wearing a gold necklace with a cross on it. Would that be banned also? What about Jewish women who wear a Star Of David? Do they also get banned from the beach? No, the ugly truth is that the law has the sole purpose of keeping religious French Muslims off the beach. The message it sends is – “You are not really wanted here, even if you were born in France.”
We at East Coast Stories are especially proud of Ibtihaj Muhammad. She comes from our home state, being a native of Maplewood New Jersey. She has shown the best of the American spirit. Ibtihaj Muhammad has been able to accomplish her goals while being true to her religion. That is exactly the type of religious freedom the founders of America wanted.
Some people claim that banning the Burkini is just a way of giving Muslim women more freedom.
Freedom for women means letting women decide what is best for themselves. Take a look at the above picture, which shows 3 women enjoying a day at the beach. One is wearing a bikini, the second a one-piece bathing suit, and the third a Burkini. They are all having fun and all feel comfortable with what they are wearing. Why does the French government think it has the right to tell any of them what to wear?
The French should be very careful abut opening up the gates to let out the horrors of religious intolerance. Of course, everyone knows that in World War II when the Nazi’s occupied France they rounded up the French Jews and sent them to death camps. Brave Free French forces and French resistance fighters fought the Nazi’s with all their might. They were fighting for the freedom of ALL the French people. The very word Liberty was coined in France. The proud French tradition of freedom is too important to be discarded for something like a Burkini.