Why France's Burkini Ban Is Absolutely Senseless

Why France's Burkini Ban Is Absolutely Senseless

This is what happens when fear mongering rises to a whole new level in Cannes, France.
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Just when you thought France couldn't get any more Islamophobic than it already is, the mayor of Cannes decided to ban women from wearing burkinis – full-body swimsuits – on beaches.

Why, you ask?

Because Mayor David Lisnard believes a burkini is "the symbol of Islamist extremism". He cites France's secular laws and the recent terror attack in Nice, France in order to support his ordinance.

"Beachwear which ostentatiously displays religious affiliation, when France and places of worship are currently the target of terrorist attacks, is liable to create risks of disrupting public order," his policy states.

But what about other religious symbols, like the Jewish kippah or Christian cross?

Not included, because apparently, to the mayor, every other religious symbol is totally fineanything but this Islamic garment. So if you want to keep it "modest" at the beach ladies, looks like the only option left is to wear a headscarf with that bikini. Any woman caught wearing a burkini will be fined 38 euros if she does not leave the beach or change into another outfit.

"Not a day goes by without the target of Muslims, especially Muslim women in France," Yasser Louati, a human rights and civil liberties activist, told Al Jazeera.

"There is a feeling now that France is at war with its own citizens. Today they are Muslims, and yesterday they were Jews," said Louati. "French elites cannot live in peace with minorities."

Understandably enough, anti-racism organizations and human rights activists all over France are outraged over the discriminatory city ordinance. The Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CAIF) said it's filing a lawsuit challenging the legality of the Cannes's ordinance. The CAIF urges tolerance in communities, noting that a third of the 85 victims of the terror attack in Nice, France were Muslim. The League of Human Rights also issued a statement that it would challenge the ban in court.

Even the French media is questioning the legality of the burkini ban. The French newspaper Liberation accuses the ban of being exclusively political while another French newspaper, Le Monde, disputes the ordinance on legal grounds: "The law on the full-face veil only bans covering the face in public...The burkini, which covers the body but does not hide the face, is thus a totally legal garment."

And considering that a burkini is not much different than a wetsuit, the ban raises several questions about what "suitable beachwear" even implies.

Moreover, how does a burkini symbolize a link to any terrorist group, let alone ISIS? Does Mayor Lisnard think the women of ISIS flock around beaches to lounge "ostentatiously" in their burkinis? Or is this ban meant to eliminate the threat of ISIS swooping in on Cannes beaches to recruit a couple of burkini babes, as if the garment is some sort of advertisement for terrorism?

As Judge Marie said on France TV Info's legal blog, "The basic freedom to come and go dressed as you please seems to me to be infringed in a way that is disproportionate to this risk."

As tensions continue to rise in France, critics argue that the religious divide has only deepened due to the ban of yet another Muslim garment.

"Yet again it's ordinary Muslims who pay for the actions of terrorists even though they had nothing to do with it," Feiza Ben Mohamed, the spokeswoman for the Southern Federation of Muslims told The Local. "They [ISIS] are trying to recruit young people in France and they will be saying to them, ‘look, France stigmatizes Muslims; look, France won’t let you wear the veil’."

“At a time when politicians should be doing everything to avoid tension between communities, they have done exactly the opposite,” she added.

Cover Image Credit: NPR

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I'm A Christian And I Have A Tattoo

Stop judging me for it.
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Like most people, I turned 18 years old during the course of my senior year of high school. I’ll never forget the months prior to my birthday, though, because I spent hours making a decision that would be with me forever, the decision of where I would go to get my first tattoo and where that tattoo would go, and of course I spent a lot of time deciding on the font, the colors, and all of the other aspects of the tattoo I wanted. Throughout this time, two things stood firm 1) the fact that I was going to get a tattoo, and 2) the six letter name that it would consist of.

Now, three years later, I’m 21 years old and I still get the occasional dirty look at church on Sunday or in line at Walmart, and more often than not this look is accompanied by the following words: “Why would you do that to your body when God says not to?” A few weeks ago at a new church, a woman came up to me and said, “How can you consider yourself a Christian when you have that blasphemous thing on your foot?”, I simply smiled at her and said: “God bless you, have a good week.” I let it roll off of my back, I’ve spent the past three years letting it “roll off of my back”… but I think it’s time that I speak up.

When I was 8 years old, I lost my sister. She passed away, after suffering from Childhood Cancer for a great deal of my childhood. Growing up, she had always been my best friend, and going through life after she passed was hard because I felt like even though I knew she was with me, I didn’t have something to visually tribute to her – a way to memorialize her. I, being a Christian and believing in Heaven, wanted to show my sister who was looking down on me that even though she was gone – she could still walk with me every day. I wanted it for me, for her. I wanted to have that connection, for her to always be a part of who I am on the outside – just as much as she is a part of who I am on the inside.

After getting my tattoo, I faced a lot of negativity. I would have Leviticus 19:28 thrown in my face more times than I cared to mention. I would be frowned on by various friends, and even some family. I was told a few times that markings on my body would send me to hell – that was my personal favorite.

You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks on you: I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:28

The more I heard these things, the more I wanted to scream. I didn’t though. I didn’t let the harsh things said about me and my choice change the love I have for the Lord, for my sister, or for the new precious memento on my left foot. I began to study my Bible more, and when I came to the verse that had been thrown in my face many times before – I came to a realization. Reading the verses surrounding verse 28, I realized that God was speaking to the covenant people of Israel. He was warning them to stay away from the religious ways of the people surrounding them. Verse 28 wasn’t directed to what we, in today’s society, see as tattoos – it was meant in the context of the cultic practice of marking one’s self in the realm of cultic worship.

26 "You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying. 27 You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard. 28 ‘You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD. 29 ‘Do not profane your daughter by making her a harlot, so that the land will not fall to harlotry and the land become full of lewdness. 30 ‘You shall keep My sabbaths and revere My sanctuary; I am the LORD. 31 ‘Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God."
Leviticus 19:26–31

The more I have studied my Bible over the past few years, the more I pity those who rely on one verse in the Old Testament to judge and degrade those, like myself, who made the decision to get a tattoo for whatever reason they may have for doing so. This is because, you see, in the New Testament it is said that believers are not bound by the laws of the Old Testament – if we were, there would be no shellfish or pork on the menus of various Christian homes. While some see tattoos as a modification of God’s creation, it could also be argued that pierced ears, haircuts, braces, or even fixing a cleft lip are no different.

24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor."
Galatians 3:24-25

In Galatians, we read that the Old Testament law was created to lead people to Jesus. However, we know that Jesus has come and died on the cross for our sins. He has saved us, therefore we are no longer held to this law in order to have a relationship with the Lord. Our relationship with Him comes from believing that Jesus came to Earth to die on a cross for our sins, and repenting of our sins – accepting Jesus as our Savior.

I am a Christian, I have a relationship with the Lord that is stronger than it has ever been, and - I HAVE A TATTOO.

I have a beautiful memento on my left foot that reminds me that my sister walks with me through every day of my life. She walked with me down the red carpet at my senior prom, she walked with me across the stage the day I graduated from high school, and she continues to be with me throughout every important moment of my life.

My tattoo is beautiful. My tattoo reminds me that I am never alone. My tattoo is perfect.

Stop judging me for it.

Cover Image Credit: Courtney Johnson

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Football Players Aren't Kneeling To 'Disrespect The Flag,' They're Kneeling Because People Are Being Killed

It seems like every day there is another unjustified police shooting against a minority. And that is exactly what the NFL players that kneel are trying to bring awareness to.

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If you have been watching the news this past football season, then you had to have heard about all the kneeling controversy. if you are confused or haven't heard about it don't worry, I will make it easy for you to understand. Back in 2016 Colin Kaepernick, a player for the San Francisco 49ers at the time, began to sit then eventually kneel, every time the National Anthem was sung. Once the media got ahold of this it was like a wildfire. Other teams and players that understood why Colin was doing it and began to do it too. It took off so much that even newscasters began to argue about it.

What the media, politicians, news crews, and some people in general don't understand is that these football players ARE NOT kneeling with intent to disrespect the American flag, the National Anthem, or our vets. They kneel to bring awareness to the growing issue of police brutality we have going on in our country. We all have to admit that lately the only things that have been in the news a lot are things about police shootings. Especially "accidental" killings against minorities.

Many of these protests started with the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson. But now they have escalated. It seems like every day there is another unjustified police shooting against a minority. And that is exactly what the NFL players that kneel are trying to bring awareness to. Since kneeling Colin Kaepernick was dropped by the 49ers and has literally been blackballed, no team has picked him up. Not because he isn't a good player, he is actually very good at football, but because the team knows that if they pick him up, Colin will kneel. And that will bring unwanted attention to said team.

Now that about two seasons have gone by and players are still kneeling, President Trump has gotten in on the commentary action. His comments have sparked more attention to these kneeling players and a lot of dislike towards them. Which is wrong, clearly people do not understand why the players are protesting. Although it seems like from these comments the NFL has decided to make a new rule about the National Anthem, whoever tries to kneel or sit will be heavily fined.

This new rule has brought on a lot more controversy. Although I believe Malcolm Jenkins from the Philadelphia Eagles said it best in his You Aren't Listening interview. He gave facts as to why players kneel, these were some of the facts,

Approximately 60% of people in prison are people of color. In 2018, almost 500 people have been killed by police thus far. The US population is made up of 8% African American males & now 25% of African American males have been shot and killed.

These were just a few of the facts. There are many more out there that are very outstanding. Start listening. It's not about disrespect, its about bringing awareness. I want you to keep those facts in mind the next time you see someone kneeling or sitting when the National Anthem is being played.

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https://unsplash.com/photos/iWv-bGqUfao

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