24/08/2016 12:14 PM IST | Updated 25/08/2016 11:51 AM IST

France Likes Its Muslim Women Oppressed

Stringer . / Reuters

I cannot for the life of me understand the brand of secularism France upholds. First, they apprehended a Muslim girl for wearing a long skirt to school, since she wore it for religious reasons. Let me get this straight, it's okay to wear a long skirt if it's for- fashion, cover unshaved legs, protect yourself from insects... as long as it is for anything but Islam. Now the mayor of Cannes has gone ahead and banned full-body swimsuits known as burkinis (burka+bikini – clever, right?) stating that it is a "symbol of Islamic extremism". The fashion police are now out monitoring, and threatening with pepper spray, covered women who can potentially destroy laïcité and maybe even the very foundation of French society. Gasp. Oh France, you have just revealed to ISIS and other extremist groups what you fear the most -- a Muslim woman wearing what's essentially a wetsuit with a hood. Now prepare to have an army of burkini-clad women climb the Eiffel tower and declare France an Islamic state.

A woman enjoying the beach while being visibly Muslim does not align with their narrative of "the hijab is an oppressive noose."

France, to add to your paranoia, here is a list of other groups of people you need to monitor and maybe even ban:

1. Scuba divers: They could be a bunch of terrorists getting radicalized in the deep seas by Mohmammed Dolphinullah, Sheikh Whaleuddin, and Jihadi Jellyfish. Underground terror cells are a thing of past, now it is all underwater.

2. Astronauts: Possibly orbiting the earth lusting for "infidel blood" in outer space, while establishing Sharia law in Mars. If the Islamic crescent up in the sky every month is not a glaring sign, I don't know what is.

3. Bee-keepers: Most probably harvesting bees for a worldwide bee attack against non-Muslims. A bee-haad, if you will.

Jokes apart, it is infuriating to watch these self-proclaimed progressives and standard bearers of liberty claim that they want to uphold women's rights and then go right ahead and trample all over a section of the women they want to "save". It is so obnoxious to think they know better than the women themselves. Don't they see how counter-productive this is? With such bans, France is essentially alienating Muslim women from public spaces by giving them an option of either abandoning their religious values and "assimilating" completely to the "civilised West", or staying out of the pools/beaches and in their homes. The Muslim women who want to be out there, enjoying the sun and sand and waves will now just stay at home, resentful that they can't enjoy the same freedom their fellow citizens do. All because their government has decided that the only way to enjoy waves is by exposing your body. This is extremism. And it feeds into the narrative ISIS is trying to sell -- that Muslims are not welcome in Western countries and should join the "Islamic Caliphate" to practice their religion. Good job radicalizing your own citizens, France! Here, have a croissant. Oh wait, that's crescent shaped! The evil moozlems are out with their Sharia law, converting their beloved pastry too. The only way out now is to ban croissants too.

This is extremism. And it feeds into the narrative ISIS is trying to sell -- that Muslims are not welcome in Western countries...

Maybe France likes its Muslim women oppressed? A woman enjoying the beach while being visibly Muslim does not align with their narrative of "the hijab is an oppressive noose." It does not justify their bloody colonization and ongoing exploitation of "uncivilized" Muslim countries to save the "poor Muslim women" languishing there. They no longer have any one to "save". So they invent a problem, claiming it's to save Muslim women when in fact it's just another guise to marginalize further an already marginalized and vulnerable community.

Let me pause to address those who are now saying, "Well Saudi Arabia doesn't let..." Stop right there. You want to compare a theocratic state to a developed so-called secular one? Why not look to predominantly Muslim nations like Indonesia and Malaysia where westerners flock to frolic in their bikinis and speedos? Oh, that doesn't gel well with the story you are trying to sell -- the great "clash of civilizations." Too bad.

Let women decide what's good for them. No one else -- not the state, not the men, not society -- gets a say in how a woman should dress. Let not the state become our fashion police. (They have questionable taste.)

Finally, here's something for those who wilfully blind themselves to the agency Muslim women have and proudly use:

You said these domes invade your skies,

And my clothes offend your freedom

Which you so cherish.

You claim

My smile doesn't reach your eyes

Nor my arms, out there

Waiting for you

To embrace

And let peace prevail


When I tell you,

My scarf, these domes, our extended arms

Don't mean any harm

And I'm in no need of saving because

No freedom was infringed when I chose modesty

No oppression encountered till I was asked to shed

What I protect.

I will shed, though.

I will shed inhibition, fear and uncertainties; and

I will reveal.

I will reveal, when we bring down the fence,

that you and me,

We are just the same.

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