On August 19, the coastal city of Nice became the latest of 26 French cities to impose a ban on women wearing burkinis. A burkini is a swimsuit designed in 2004 for Muslim women who wish to cover themselves on the beach or while swimming. Since Nice's ban, the issue has gained attention from the rest of Europe and the world. In particular, photographs of a woman removing a long-sleeved top on the beach in Nice under the gaze of armed police officers went viral on August 24.
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has called burkinis a "provocation," while Rudy Salles, the deputy mayor of Nice, defended the ban on August 25. When asked by the BBC if he did not see the photos of the police on the beach in Nice as provocative, Salles replied, "What is provocative is these extremists...I do not want to see that any more."
These words reveal the dangerous Islamophobic attitudes behind this law. The ban is a violation of Muslim women's right to choose what they wear on their own bodies in public. Around the world, people are rightfully angry. Earlier today, London protesters held a "Wear What You Want Beach Party" outside the French embassy. There are more protests planned in the U.K. this week, as well as online campaigns springing up that you can support worldwide; here's four quick ways to show your anger at the situation.
1. Donate to this fund to reimburse women who have been fined for wearing a burkini.
Black Blossoms, a blog that highlights the voices of black women, and the N.U.S. [U.K. National Union of Students] Women's Campaign are fundraising for Muslim women across France. Visit their Just Giving page here.