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Muslim women protest burkini ban in France swimming pool

The modest swimsuit style has been banned from numerous public pools. These women are fighting back.

Inspired by the late American activist Rosa Parks, Muslim women in France staged a protest on Sunday, defending their right to wear whatever they choose to go swimming.

Seven Muslim women were cheered on by Muslim community members as they entered the Jean Bron swimming pool in Grenoble, along with 30 non-Muslim supporters, despite being told that their modest swimsuits — often referred to as burkinis — were not permitted. They soaked in the water for approximately one hour, as part of “Operation Burkini,” a demonstration organized by the Citizen Alliance of Grenoble to challenge the burkini ban.


The word “burkini” is a slang term used to refer to modest swimsuits worn by Muslim women. The garment, which reveals only women’s face, hands, and feet, allows them to take part in water activities while still maintaining a state of “hijab” and observing their faith as they choose.

While the traditional headscarf has come to be known as a "hijab," the word actually refers to the physical and internal characteristics of being "covered." "Hijab" itself means covering the body in accordance to Islamic guidelines, but also includes the way Muslims conduct themselves in public and interact with others. Muslim men are also expected to maintain internal and external "hijab."

“Operation Burkini” is part of a larger campaign to urge Grenoble’s mayor, Éric Piolle, to revise the public swimming pool dress code prohibiting burkinis, which was instated in 2016. The movement to overturn the rule started last year with a petition signed by 600 Muslim women.

"We have a dream: to have fun in public swimming pools like all other citizens, to accompany our children whenever they want to have a swim while it is very hot in the summer here in Grenoble,” two of the women, Hasiba and Latifa, told the BBC.

"We must fight against discriminatory policies and prejudice in France, as we are actually deprived of our civil rights of access to public services and city-owned infrastructures."

Police questioned each of the seven women after the protest and fined them each €35 ($40) for the dress code violation.

For many years, burkini bans and other similar bans on religious coverings have been widely debated. Many French officials like Matthieu Chamussy, a member of a political party known as “The Republicans,” have voiced their belief that the burkini represents the oppression of women under Islam’s tenets.

"Political Islam is moving forward step-by-step and the cause of women receding,” Chamussy tweeted.

French politicians have also argued that wearing burkinis is against the country’s strict code of secularism.

On Monday, National Rally leader Marine Le Pen tweeted in response to the protest, writing, "It's time to say loud and clear that the burkini has no place in France.”

In 2016, the burkini was banned in 15 French cities, before being overturned by the country’s top administrative court a few months later due to backlash. France was also the first European country to ban the full-face veil, worn by some Muslim women, in 2010. The country has prohibited the donning of the hijab and other religious symbols in public schools since 2004.

The United Nations, however, has been critical of France’s policies, categorizing them as intolerant, discriminatory violations of Muslim women’s human rights.

This article originally appeared on Global Citizen. You can read it here.

Articles

The healthcare systems in the United States and the United Kingdom couldn't be more different.

The UK's National Health Service is the largest government-run healthcare system in the world and the US's is largest private sector system.

Almost all essential health services in the UK are free, whereas in America cost can vary wildly based on insurance, co pays and what the hospitals and physicians choose to charge.

A medical bill in the US

One of the largest differences is cost. The average person in the UK spends £2,989 ($3915) per year on healthcare (most of which is collected through taxes), whereas the average American spends around $10,739 a year.

So Americans should obviously be getting better care, right? Well, the average life expectancy in the UK is higher and infant mortality rate is lower than that in the US.

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Plus, in the U.S., only 84% of people are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population are forced to pay out of pocket.

In the UK, everyone is covered unless they are visiting the country or an undocumented resident.

Prescription drugs can cost Americans an arm and a leg, but in the UK, prescriptions or either free or capped at £8.60 ($11.27).

via Wikimedia Commons

The one drawback to the NHS system is responsiveness. In the UK people tend to wait longer for inessential surgeries, doctor's appointments, and in emergency rooms. Whereas, the US is ranked as the most responsive country in the world.

RELATED: Alarmingly high insulin prices are forcing Americans to flock to Canada to buy the drug

The New York Times printed a fair evaluation of the UK's system:

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. … No one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered. …

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Citizens in each country have an interesting perspective on each other's healthcare systems. UK citizens think it's inhumane for Americans have to pay through the nose when they're sick or injured. While Americans are skeptical of socialist medicine.

A reporter from Politics Joe hit the streets of London and asked everyday people what they think Americans pay for healthcare and they were completely shocked.

Health

Bans on plastic bags and straws can only go so far. Using disposable products, like grabbing a plastic fork when you're on the go, can be incredibly convenient. But these items also contribute to our growing plastic problem.

Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Cocostation

Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger

Dizaul

Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head

Speakman

Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor

Zomchi

Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

The Planet
Instagram / Leonardo DiCaprio

This August, the world watched as the Amazon burned. There were 30,901 individual fires that lapped at the largest rainforest in the world. While fires can occur in the dry season due to natural factors, like lightning strikes, it is believed that the widespread fires were started by loggers and farmers to clear land. Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, cites a different cause: the actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

DiCaprio wasn't accused of hanging out in the rainforest with a box of matches, however President Bolsonaro did accuse the actor of funding nonprofit organizations that allegedly set fires to raise donations.

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The Planet