Burkini in France – level 3
It’s rare that an item of clothing sparks such controversy, even to the point of polarising a nation, but after recent incidents of women being asked to remove their burkini in French beach resorts, it’s safe to say that this piece of fabric, has truly got people talking.
The so-called burkini is a linguistic melange of the Muslim garment, the burka, with a bikini. A swimsuit that covers a woman’s body, leaving only her face, hands and feet exposed.
Seemingly inoffensive, in 2009 a woman was banned from a public pool in Paris for wearing the item. Now, in the secular country, many French resorts are banning the garment entirely.
Although not everyone agrees, this French beach-goer says, “If someone besides him want to wear a burkini, he wouldn’t really care and that the majority of the population sees the ban as an infringement of rights.”
However, Prime Minister Manuel Valls defends the hard-line approach, calling the burkini a symbol of enslavement of women. He says that asking someone to remove their burkini is like if a woman in a public area were indecent, they’d too be asked to cover up.
Many critics argue that the ban could provoke violent reaction from Islamic terrorists in a country that’s already endured a slew of attacks. It may just be a piece of material, but for many, clearly, the burkini has a lot more underlying meaning to it.
Difficult words: spark (start), controversy (an emotional public discussion), polarise (divide into two groups), melange (a mixture), garment (an item of clothing), inoffensive (not offensive – rude), secular (not religious), entirely (completely), infringement (limiting something), hard-line (uncompromising, strict), enslavement (making somebody a slave), indecent (not being normal), endure (undergo), slew (a large number of something).
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