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French police asked a burkini clad sunbather to remove her clothes in Nice. Photo: The Guardian

French police asked a burkini clad sunbather to remove her clothes in Nice. Photo: The Guardian


The Inertia

A few weeks ago, Cannes, France did something really, really dumb. Like, Trump-type dumb. They banned the burkini, a bathing suit worn by Muslim women because it was, according to them, “a symbol of Islamic extremism.” A burkini is many things, but it is not that. Thankfully, though, logic has prevailed. France’s top court realized just how ridiculous the ban was and overturned it.

The ruling, made by the Council of State, only technically applies to a ban in Villeneuve-Loubet, but it’s binding and it’s expected to “set a legal precedent for all the 30 or so French resort municipalities that have issued similar decrees,” according to the CBC.

While the reasoning behind the ban came from a reasonable place–France has been the target of attacks by Islamic extremeists–the knee-jerk reaction to ban the burkini is nothing more than that: a simple, scared reaction. When we posted a story about the ban on Instagram, I was surprised by the amount of violent, uneducated hatred towards Muslims (and us). Perhaps I shouldn’t have been, since we are, after all, on the internet.

Islamic extremists are not the majority of Muslims. That would be like saying that KKK members are representative of all Christians. Muslims aren’t terrorists. Terrorists are terrorists. And although yet another tiny article floating around on the vastness of the internet will not change public perception, here are a few facts about Muslims you should probably know.

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Guess how many terrorist attacks in the US come from Muslims? According to the FBI, from 1980 to 2005, 94 percent were made by NON-Muslims. In the last two years, a little over 1 percent of terror-related attacks in Europe were carried out by Muslims.

Almost half of the last twelve people who have won the Nobel Peace Prize have been Muslim. Five of twelve, to be exact. That’s about 42 percent. Want to know the percentage of Muslims that are Islamic extremists? There’s no real way of knowing, but it’s a lot less than 42 percent. There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. If 42 percent of them were Islamic extremists, we’d have 672 million Islamic extremists, which double the amount of people that live in the United States.

Muslims are far less dangerous than lots of things. Take babies for example.   In fact, for the last several years, babies and household furniture have killed more people that Muslims. Muslims are bigger victims of ISIS than the US, a fact that even the US State Department realizes.

But back to France and the ban on the burkini because it somehow represents ISIS. The ban was overturned after human rights groups brought it to the high court, saying that “the orders infringe basic freedoms and that mayors have overstepped their powers by telling women what to wear on beaches.” Many officials backed the ban saying that burkinis oppress women–which is ironic since telling women they can’t wear it is essentially the same as telling them they have to.

Patrice Spinosi, a lawyer for the Human Rights League, said that the overturning of the ban “is a decision that is meant to set legal precedent.” He went on to explain why. “Today all the ordinances taken should conform to the decision of the Council of State. Logically the mayors should withdraw these ordinances. If not, legal actions could be taken against those towns. Today the state of law is that these ordinances are not justified. They violate fundamental liberties and they should be withdrawn.”


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