Sad day for religious liberty in French town

In the wake of the 84 murders by a truck in Nice, the police ordered a woman sitting on the beach to remove her "burkini."

The Telegraph has the story, along with comments from the bystanders:

Along the coast in Cannes, a mother of two told AFP on Tuesday she had been fined on the beach for wearing leggings, a tunic and a headscarf.

Her ticket read that she was not wearing "an outfit respecting good morals and secularism".

"I was sitting on a beach with my family. I was wearing a classic headscarf. I had no intention of swimming," said the 34 year-old, who gave only her first name, Siam.

A witness to the scene, Mathilde Cousin, confirmed the incident. "The saddest thing was that people were shouting 'go home', some were applauding the police. Her daughter was crying," she told AFP.

The fine says the purpose of the ban is to protect secularism.

A Nice tribunal said the ban is "necessary, appropriate and proportional" to prevent public disorder.  However, the Human Rights League is appealing the decisions by various towns to ban Muslim clothing.

The controversial ban is being met with resistance and will come before France's highest administrative court on Thursday. The Human Rights League (LDH) is appealing a decision by a lower court in Nice which upheld a ban on the outfit by the town of Villeneuve-Loubet.

Villeneuve-Loubet, just west of Nice, was among the first of some 15 French towns to ban the burkini, triggering a fierce debate in France and elsewhere about the wearing of the full-body swimsuit, women's rights and secularity.

The Nice tribunal ruled on Monday that the ban in Villeneuve-Loubet was "necessary, appropriate and proportionate" to prevent public disorder after a succession of jihadists attacks in France, including the one in Nice on July 14 that killed at least 84 people.

It was sad (for me at least) to see a woman remove her religious clothing in public and then be fined, as the police stood over her. 

It's understandable that the French authorities want to protect citizens from more attacks, but the ban is also motivated by the promotion of secularism. 

It is one thing for the government to be religiously neutral, but it is quite another for the government to impose religious neutrality on its citizens.  As for the motive of public order, a burka is long way from a terrorist attack.  There are surely more proximate causes to jihadist attacks. 

As noted in the article "Why shariah is incompatible with American values," there are some aspects of sharia that are compatible with American values, such as not eating pork (think of devout Jews), praying a certain way, washing before entering a mosque, and wearing religious clothing (think of Catholic nuns).  It's the other portions, like the divorce laws and Quran-sanctioned domestic violence, that are incompatible.

Personal religious liberty, even out in public, in France and here in the U.S. must win the day.  I hope the highest administrative court will strike down the fifteen towns' ban on the burka.

James Arlandson's website is Live as Free People, where he has posted Veils in the Quran, Traditions and Classical Sharia Law and Thirty Sharia Laws.