French police who forced a woman to remove her burkini on a beach in Nice ‘are no better’ than Islamic State militants, a British author has claimed.
Shelina Janmohamed told BBC Newsnight on Wednesday that women everywhere should be protesting after armed guards approached a Muslim woman and told her to remove her clothing on Tuesday.
Nice is one of a dozen towns which have banned the body-covering swimwear favoured by some Muslim women. The Southern French city was the target of a deadly Islamic extremist truck attack in July that killed 86 people.
Janmohamed, a British Muslim author, drew a parallel between Islamic extremists and the actions of the European authorities.
But Spectator assistant editor Douglas Murray was quick to point out that the comparison only goes so far because, as “grotesque” as the police’s actions were, officers do subsequently “rape and kill” women as Isis does.
Janmohamed told Newnight’s host Evan Davis: “This is not just about Muslim women.
“When we have a state and we have police telling women what they can and cannot wear then we are in very dangerous territory.
“And I’ll tell you which other organisations tell women what to and what not to wear at the barrel of a gun and that is Daesh and the extremists. And women everywhere should be protesting.”
Murray, who is Associate Editor at The Spectator, said: “The French authorities - grotesque as this is - do not then do to the women what Isis and the Taliban do which is to rape and kill them.
“So it is a parallel that goes a certain way but we have to keep this in some context.”
Murray and Janmohamed agreed that not a single life would be saved by banning the burkini.
Janmohamed, who owns a burkini, said: “It’s not really about the form of the burkini that seems to be at stake here but it’s some kind of meaning that’s been imposed on it.”
Murray pointed out that more than 200 people have been killed in Jihadist attacks in France in the last 18 months and that in Germany there is talk of conscription - yet politicians’ gaze is on the burkini.
He said: “Here we are with the big summer’s story of French - and indeed some German - politicians competing to out idiot each other by talking about the burkini.
“This is now a European tradition in the face of a genuinely serious societal problem that radical Islam poses across all of Europe... politicians compete with each other and the media compete with each other about really frivolous things and the burkini is a frivolous debate to be having.
“Not one life is likely to be saved by a woman being fined on a beach in Nice for wearing a burkini.”
He said that politicians do not want to face up to the “massive issues” that they have brought about which they “cannot answer”.