Compare Bardot in a Bikini to a Burqa Bather and Watch Sparks Fly – as Politician Discovers
A picture of bikini-clad Brigitte Bardot — sex symbol of the 60s — posted on a politician’s Facebook side-by-side with a burqa-shrouded woman on a French beach, has sparked another domestic row over Muslims and their veils.
Angered by what she considered a further affront to France’s 100-year old commitment to secularism, conservative French politician, former cabinet Minister for the Family and MEP Nadine Morano posted a long essay on her Facebook page about her experience on a French beach at the height of summer, suggesting that those who consciously flout the law should either integrate or emigrate.
She wrote of a man and a woman coming onto the beach, the man in a bathing costume and preparing for a swim and his companion «tunique manches longues, pantalon et voile» (in a long sleeved tunic, trousers and a veil) sitting down to wait while her man enjoyed himself. She continued «Lui, a donc le droit de se déshabiller, de se baigner, elle non! Défiance envers la femme, défiance envers ses congénères masculins…Voir cela sur le territoire des droits de l’Homme est exaspérant!», (the man had the right to undress and to swim, the women did not . Mistrust of the woman, mistrust of their masculine companions, to see this in the country of the Rights of Man is exasperating).
“If you choose to come to France, a state of law, a secular state, one should respect our culture and women’s rights. If not, go elsewhere!” she wrote, adding, “I ask Muslims who have chosen to live in France and to integrate to help me defend a simple reality: France is not a religious state.”
The highly predictable reaction from France’s increasingly active identity politics industry was not long in coming and the MEP found herself the butt of much criticism and verbal haranguing on her Facebook page but also in the reader’s comments under the numerous media reports of the story.
However as the image below captured from her Facebook page shows, she also attracted much support: Abdallah Zekri, president of the French National Observatory against Islamophobia, said it was only forbidden to wear the full face veil in France. In a question that appeared to betray a misunderstanding of the position on French secularism he asked “How is wearing a veil on a beach not respecting the laws of the Republic?” Morano retorted that France needed a “national observatory for respecting French culture” which she added is a culture of “equality between men and women”.
In fact French law is very clear. Since 2010 the wearing of face coverings — from burqas to balaclavas — in the public space is forbidden and punishable by fines.
Indeed on July 1 this year France won a significant victory for its secular traditions when the European Court of Human Rights upheld the controversial burqa ban, rejecting arguments that the 2010 law outlawing full-face veils breaches religious freedom. In a case brought by a 24-year-old Frenchwoman with the support of a British legal team, the court ruled that France was justified in introducing the ban in the interests of social cohesion. “The court emphasised that respect for the conditions of ‘living together’ was a legitimate aim for the measure at issue,” a statement from the court said.
While a heated debate about Nadine Moreno’s photos raged on social media and between politicians Morano got more than 1000 reader comments – the majority in support of her stand — tagged onto the end of a Le Figaro report on the affair.
These included comments from the following pseudonymous readers:
Democratic and Secular:
“Congratulations to Nadine Morano. When will we finally officially recognise that the question of the veil goes far beyond the issue of secularism? The veil is an insult to women and men. It is an incentive to sexism. It is an encouragement to all the humiliation and abuse that all women are forced to endure in Islamic countries. We are very far from the question of whether the veil should be allowed or not …the basic meaning of the veil is contrary to all the principles of Western democracies.”
I’m not a fan of Ms. Morano but at least she has the courage to lay it out straight; here in southern France there is a shameful spectacle that is becoming very common of lots of men in long beards and slippers running around !!”
“Many years ago, I saw a veiled woman going to swim fully clothed; when she came out of the water, her children surrounded her with a large towel allowing her change into dry full length clothes. That was over thirty years ago and in …. Turkey. I saw almost the same performance last year on a beach in the Aude … What should we do? Say nothing, protest, ask questions … What to do when it is almost impossible to remove this Islamization.”
“It is very petty and illmannered to take a picture in this way and then use it for political point scoring. In addition she offers her opinions without any discussion about it with the person concerned. It is a value judgement based on appearances and generalities. …”
Moreno’s Bardot picture appeared alongside the photo below that the MEP said she herself took on an (unamed) beach and published in anger and in sorrow:
Anger at the continued flouting of French law on secularism and sorrow at the retrograde attitudes towards women that the dress style represents.
For a long discussion of the issue of secularism in France, the bending of the Roman Catholic Church to the law, the current defiance of the law by Islam’s followers in France and why France is so keen on being a secular state read: A Siren Call for Secularism: How Those who Label France ‘Burqaphobic’ Miss the Point.
Below is the banner from her Facebook page where she started the whole row:
Story: Ken Pottinger
More on the burqa:
- UK Lawyers Meddle in French Burqa Affair
- The Butcher and His Burqa are Back
- How a 20 Euro Driving Offence Became a Burqa Cause Célèbre!
- France leads Europe with burqa ban
- French Court Upholds Headscarf Firing
- Alain Finkielkraut on the Fall of France