French Police target Muslim women as burkini hysteria continues

French Police target Muslim women as burkini hysteria continues
Armed officers forced a Muslim woman to take her top off on a Nice beach, while police with pepper spray accosted another woman in Cannes, as the burkini hysteria continues.
3 min read
24 Aug, 2016
The moment a Muslim woman was asked to remove her clothing in Nice [Twitter]
France's burkini ban stooped to a new low on Tuesday when police armed with batons and pepper spray marched onto a beach and demanded that a Muslim woman remove her garments. 

The woman had been sleeping on the beach just moments before the incident.

The woman, who was clothed in a long-sleeve top and a head wrap, was minding her own business on the Promenade des Anglais beach in Nice when four policemen confronted her.

Images have emerged of the cops watching the lady remove her items of clothing, which did not appear to be a purpose-made burkini.

After being forced to undress by the male officers, the woman was reportedly slapped with an on-the-spot fine and a warning about her dress.

Police approach the woman who appears to be simply sleeping on the beach [Vantage news]

In Cannes, another Muslim woman on a beach was fined for the crime of wearing a headscarf.

The 34-year-old mother was accosted by three officers who had a pepper spray canister pointed at her, warning that she was in breach of new laws banning full-body swimming costumes.

According to Mathilde Cusin, a France 24 journalist who witnessed the incident, one of the officers "had his finger on the trigger of his tear gas device, no doubt containing pepper".

Cusin added that the mother was wearing "a simple hijab [as opposed to a full face covering] around her hair". 

Adding to the police intimidation were also locals who taunted the lady identified simply as 'Siam' by telling her to "go home".

"It was pretty violent. I had the impression of a pack going after a woman sitting on the ground, crying with her daughter," Cusin said.

According to Siam, the "racist" officers were acting in order to humiliate her in front of her young children who were present.

"I wasn't even planning to swim, just to dip my feet," said Siam, who explained that her clothing made her comfortable by protecting her skin from the sun.

When asked about her "inappropriate" dress, the former air hostess said that she, "didn't know exactly what was going on" as she "hadn't really followed the controversy".

She refused to leave the beach at first, saying that "my children were crying as they witnessed humiliation". 

To add insult to injury, Siam's details were recorded by the police and will be stored in what amounts to a criminal record.

"Today we are not allowed on the beach. Tomorrow, the street? Tomorrow, we'll be forbidden from practicing our religion at all?" she asked following the incident.

Thus, these incidents are just the latest developments in what has arguably become a legalised means for harassing Muslim women and restricting their civil liberties.