France is desperately clinging to a secular state identity. An influx of immigrants, largely Muslim, are making this increasingly difficult. Numerous commentators have remarked how the recent terrorist attacks in France have given the French government the continued ability to impose and enforce secular laws.
An increasing number of French towns have instituted a ban on burka swimsuits. This is the latest in a line of restrictions on body coverings by the French government over the past few years. French political leaders argue that the swimwear, and other traditional Muslim coverings, oppresses women and violates France’s secular principles.
But the result is largely social, not just legal. Opponents say these bans are discriminatory, arbitrary and alienating to France’s significant Muslim community. Secular laws which are perceived, rightfully or not, to be directed towards Muslims further marginalize Muslims from society.
France has seen the result of this marginalization before. And while Islam was not determined to be a direct cause of the violence, the marginalization of Muslims in French society was a proximate cause.
Way to be reactionary France.