women stage burkini ban protest outside london’s french embassy
'The war on terror does not begin inside a woman’s wardrobe,' says organiser Esmat Jeraj.
Outraged by the recent burkini ban — which resulted in a Muslim woman being surrounded on a beach in Nice by armed police and made to remove items of clothing — yesterday, 27-year-old Esmat Jeraj rallied a group of women and took to the French Embassy in London. They poured bags of sand on the ground and staged their own Wear What You Want Beach Party to oppose France's burkini ban, which is seen as both sexist and Islamophobic.
"Just seeing what happened to that woman in Nice made me incredibly frustrated and upset and I thought 'something needs to be done'," Esmat told The Independent. "I can't even imagine how traumatizing and humiliating that must have been," she adds.
Showing solidarity alongside Ms Jeraj, fellow protesters donned swimsuits, bikinis, and burkinis, and came armed with beach balls. Their signs read, "Down With Islamophobia Under a Cloak of Feminism," and "Hey Mister, Hands off my Sister."
"By wearing a burkini, women are empowering themselves to go out and sit on the beach, and enjoy the sunshine and the French seaside with their loved ones and their families," adds Esmat. "By banning that, what you are actually doing is pushing them to no longer be part of that society, and marginalizing them further. That's incredibly worrying when you look at Islamophobia and the way Muslims are being treated in France."
While the burkini party garnered substantial support and recognition, it's scary to think that, according to a survey by Ifpop, a whopping 64% of French people are actually in favor of the banning laws, while 30% describe themselves as "indifferent."
Text Tish Weinstock