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Arab Social Media Fumes Over French Burkini Ban

JAFFA, Israel – Social media users across the Arab world are still expressing outrage over the conduct of French police officers who recently attempted to enforce a new law forbidding burkinis by forcing a Muslim woman to remove her garments on a beach in Nice on the French Riviera.

Police officers patrolling the beach reportedly saw the woman and ordered her to remove the burkini, which is an Islamic-style swimsuit that covers the whole body except the face, the hands, and the feet. According to one eyewitness, fellow beach-goers applauded the police officers and others yelled at the Muslim woman, “Go home.”

Just a few days earlier, a French court in Nice rejected an appeal filed by a human rights organization against the decision of several municipalities in the Riviera in southern France to ban the burkini on their beaches.

The issue has continued to stir the anger of social media users in the Arab world.

Abdelrahmah Dam wrote on Twitter, “The burkini is shaking the foundations of secularism in France. A modest piece of cloth confuses the politicians and eliminates the hope for freedom. The church has become much more tolerant than the secularism that waves the flag of freedom.”

Another Twitter user wrote: “This is the false and deceitful democracy and freedom of Europe. Only the stupid and ignorant Arabs are allowing this to deceive them.”

Fati, also on Twitter, said, “France is not fair. Why aren’t nuns forbidden to swim, why aren’t they asked to take off their clothes? They don’t do this to them because they aren’t Muslims.”

“Where are the friends of Auntie France who criticize clerics regarding the hijab, individual freedoms, and the rights of women?” asked Amir, another Twitter user.

Many posts included photos of nuns bathing at the beach in religious garb. As Twitter user Sheriff put it, “The French police force a Muslim to take off her burkini. I’d like to see them do that to their nuns. Is this how they view human rights over there?”

Another user also posted photos of nuns at the beach in religious dress, saying, “What they’re allowed, we’re forbidden.”

But there were others who took out their feelings on Muslim women. Nour wrote: “There’s nothing in Sharia about Islamic bathing suits. Why go to a beach full of naked people? We’re familiar with French hate toward Islam.”

Muhammed Tamimi also chose to criticize the Muslim woman in Nice. “If she respected herself, what is she, a pure Muslim woman, doing at these beaches? Is a Muslim woman allowed to look at men in swimwear? What kind of Islam is this?”

Yet another Twitter user wrote: “She deserves it. This isn’t modesty, it is nakedness with the word burkini.”

Aziz Alqenaei however, criticized the hypocrisy of those condemning the woman for immodesty: “The weird part is that a Muslim will defend individual freedom while in his own society he lives as a slave.”

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