Welcome to the Life of a Latina Muslimah blog. Often times when people discuss women’s topics and freedom they forget to ask women what they want. As was the case recently in Cannes, France regarding the ban on the Burkini. The question posed here is do local governments have the right to impose dress codes on women? If your answer is yes then unfortunately you have the same line of thinking as ISIS who enforces the hijab (head veil, covering) on the local women. These are two different examples of dress code forced on women, one orders them uncover while the other orders them cover.
I believe that women should have the freedom to choose what they wear. While the Qu’ran does advise women to cover for their own safety and benefit it also says that religion is not compulsory. ISIS has no religious grounds on the forced hijab, the same way Cannes, France has no legal right to impose the removal of clothes on Muslim women. Thankfully, the French courts agreed and have recently removed the ban on the Burkini. While some people supported the ban, more people got together and protested the ban showing that there is good in this world regardless of all of the hatred and fear.
While I still feel the Burkini could use a little work I am glad that my sisters in Cannes, France can now enjoy a day at the beach without fear of having to strip their clothes off. Regardless of what opponents in France and other countries say most Muslim women choose to cover. It might be a hard concept to grasp but some of us find it liberating. When I started wearing the hijab I noticed a huge difference in the way I was perceived and treated. No longer were men approaching me or spewing sexist comments at me. Though I do garner some unwanted glares from time to time, I still enjoy wearing the hijab because I feel comfortable and it identifies me as a Muslim. I’m grateful that I live in a country were I have the freedom to choose what I wear and because I didn’t wear the hijab before I now appreciate it so much more. I believe all women should have the same freedom and not be dictated by unjust laws and prohibitions. Inshallah (God willing) I hope that more countries can accept this line of thinking instead of imposing what they feel is culturally right.