Recently, France’s “burkini” ban has become a subject of hot debate, both in France and abroad. Lest the term “burkini” be construed as a burka, covering a woman’s face, it’s not that. It is modest swimwear, that was originally designed by an Australian designer and many of her customers are women, who just want to protect their skin, and Orthodox Jewish women.
Police harassing Muslim women on the beach and making them publicly remove the “burkini” struck me as flat out WRONG and pointless in fighting Islamic terrorism. It seems an effort that will feed the Islamic radical propaganda machine and incite cultural tensions. In an online debate on this issue, I kept asking a person adamantly supporting this effort, how this ban fits in with a comprehensive strategy to defeat Islamic terrorists. Grasping at meaningless overblown rhetoric and “symbolic” efforts don’t just take hold among the political left, they permeate the “just be tough and use more force” or “nuke them all” political right too.
Veronique De Rugy penned an excellent piece, “Institutions Matter: First Amendment vs. the French Laïcité” at National Review explaining why ideas like the “burkini” ban appeal to the French, while in America, we cringe at the thought of imposing on someone’s religious expression. De Rugy explains the French view:
“Now, contrast this with the French laïcité. According to The Economist, laïcité is “a strict form of secularism enshrined by law in 1905 after a struggle against authoritarian Catholicism.” It’s the opposite of the First Amendment in that, rather than tolerating everyone’s religion and keeping the government at bay, it allows the state to ban any sign of religion in public spaces. It claims to be about tolerance but it is, in fact, the opposite of it. And I find that it imposes more government intervention into religious activities of the people of France since it allows the state to tell you what not to wear.”
The above video explains the various viewpoints within France on this controversial ban too. I kept trying to look at it from a national security perspective and wondering how it fits into an actual comprehensive strategy to defeat Islamic terrorists.
In the online debate, the person I was debating had called me an idiot and proclaimed that I am a “fellow-traveler”, then we moved on to what we know about Islamic terrorism and he/she (I assumed it was a man, but who knows) told me I know nothing and it devolved from there. We were seeing this situation from different universes, I realized afterwards. I kept asking how this ban fit into a comprehensive national security strategy, while this person was arguing for symbolic efforts to reclaim French culture:
susanholly Friday, August 26, 2016 11:45 AM
“b) when did I make a claim to be an expert?”
When you told me how I don’t understand anything and you have the grand solution to solve the problem. I am a homemaker – not an expert.
Strategies consist of ends, ways and means always.
The END goal may be simple – defeat radical Islam, for example.
The ways and means to actually achieve that END have proven to be very difficult. How banning burkinis actually works toward that strategic END is the question that should be asked. That is the question I have asked you several times, only to be attacked that I am stupid.
metrocab Friday, August 26, 2016 12:00 PM
Now you’re reduced to blabbering.
RE: grand solutions and all that blah blah in your post above, all I can say is, by your own admission you now have a psychic interface to my mind.
Never said I had a ‘grand solution’. That’s your psychic interface malfunctioning. In fact, it was you who said that … get this…you wanted me to produce a ‘grand strategy’. Sorry. Silly idea of yours.
But since you are sincere I will play along a little longer. You ask for the good result of banning burkinis ( I am dispensing with all your ways, means strategies and ends talk for now, as it’s ill defined and unnecessary).
I best answered that question by saying: that (watch!) The Frenchpreserve their culture through thousands of small acts of preservation, some legal, some cultural, but all with confidence in your own culture. In no uncertain terms, you let the Islamic Supremicists know that this is not the place for them.
Thousands of small acts of courage Susan. Thousands.
And you especially do not care what the Islamists think about it. You maintain a studied indifference. You do not solve the problem through 1,000 slide powerpoints on ‘Grand Strategy”.
susanholly Friday, August 26, 2016 12:10 PM
“( I am dispensing with all your ways, means strategies and ends talk for now, as it’s ill defined and unnecessary)”
You can’t win a war without a strategy, whether a simple one or a grand one. Your blithe dismissal of that FACT on warfare, makes it pointless to continue this debate. My defining strategy as ends (define the mission) and then ways and means to achieve that mission(tactics) has withstood the test of time for armies for millenia – dismiss that and all you have are shots in the dark brainstorms.
metrocab Friday, August 26, 2016 12:12 PM
You don’t understand what I just posted.
susanholly • 4 days ago
Look, the French refuse to control their borders or immigration.
They allowed a radicalized Islamic population to grow, stake out territory inside France, where they basically don’t have to follow the laws of the country
Even after several devastating terrorist attacks, they are allowing tens of thousands more radical Islamists to pour in and still refuse to secure their borders.
And you think this burkini ban is a worthwhile strategic tactic? I have asked you several times how this ban helps the war to defeat Islamic terrorism and you gave this:
“Thousands of small acts of courage Susan. Thousands.”
I know the French are bad at defensive strategy, just look at the Maginot Line, but really, diverting police to patrolling the beaches to monitor burkini-wearing Muslim women, when they haven’t even secured their borders – shows they are clueless. Especially when that effort feeds the enemies’ propaganda warfare – making it both pointless for national defense and pointless for the larger global effort to defeat Islamic terror.
After this debate, I wondered if there’s a great deal of fear and bigotry at play, to paint an entire group of people with a very broad brush, underlying this burkini ban. It’s like Pamela Geller’s efforts, where I understand she is raising the alarm about Sharia law, but the manner in which she does so creates so much backlash, that it seems counterproductive to finding a solution to the problems. Sure, she has the right to free speech, but what she does is agitation propaganda. She sets out to provoke reactions from radical Islamists. She seems to revel in making herself the center of attention. At first I thought she was bravely speaking out, but seeing how she just stirs the pot, with no desire to lessen tensions, she reminds me of Ann Coulter – making a buck off of stirring up anger and reaction.
The force we use to fight Islamic terrorists abroad is a different than the measures we use inside, against America’s radical Islamists. American law requires that distinction. And beyond the actual radicals, there are thousands of other Muslims in America, who aren’t terrorists and we must engage them in the discussions and finding the solutions. You can’t resolve conflicts peacefully in your own country by ratcheting up the anger and rhetoric. The question to consider with various approaches is: In the long run, does it get us any closer to resolving the problem and how does it fit into a comprehensive strategy. If we can’t offer a clear, simple answer to that, then perhaps the effort is symbolic and pointless, likely even counterproductive to our long-range goals.
Instead of symbolic gestures, we would be much better off engaging in open, honest conversations with leaders in the Muslim world and explaining that we will use force to annihilate Islamic terrorists and we will not coddle those in the Muslim world who play both sides of the fence on the issue. With a larger outreach among Muslims, especially in America, we need to start talking to them, but we also need to be willing to listen to them too. It starts by trying to find some common ground.
Ataturk pushed for secular dress in Turkey too and he is hailed in the West, but reviled in the Islamic world. Trying to force Muslim women to go without any hair-covering sends a terrible message when trying to “liberate” women. Efforts like this have unforeseen consequences on the very women, whom supposedly the “liberators” are trying to free. Many will live virtually trapped inside their homes. Rose Wilder Lane wrote about this happening in Turkey, when Ataturk modernized and pushed reform on women’s rights. Many younger Muslim women might embrace more freedom, to include throwing off their head-coverings, many might want to keep the head-covering and seek careers, driving, etc., some might want to cling to their traditional role. The real “freedom” we should be seeking is to free their minds to new ideas, not imposing bans on their clothing.