The Burkini Debate in France: Triggering Painful Colonial Memories
Date of Issue2016
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
The decision to ban the ‘burkini’ – a form of beachwear favoured by Muslim women today – in parts of France has sparked a reaction from Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It has developed into a heated debate about French identity and the assimilationist policies of the secular French state. But reports of women being forced to undress themselves in public have also triggered memories of France’s colonial policies in the past, and may do more harm than good to the process of integration in France today.
RSIS Commentaries, 218-16
Nanyang Technological University