Beachwear bull

There is international commentary on the dress of Muslims after a Muslim woman was forced to remove clothes at a beach in France.

Guardian: French police make woman remove clothing on Nice beach following burkini ban

Photographs have emerged of armed French police confronting a woman on a beach and making her remove some of her clothing as part of a controversial ban on the burkini.

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The photographs emerged as a mother of two also told on Tuesday how she had been fined on the beach in nearby Cannes wearing leggings, a tunic and a headscarf.

Her ticket, seen by French news agency AFP, read that she was not wearing “an outfit respecting good morals and secularism”.

What is more oppressive, a person wearing clothes due to religious beliefs, or laws forcing dress standards on one religion?

Do they also ban Sikh turbans?  It is highly ironic that people are being forced by law to wear less on beaches in France “respecting good morals”

The Daily Beast asks Where’s the Outrage Over Nun Beachwear?

Go to any public beach in Italy and chances are you’ll eventually see a woman wearing a veil and long skirt. But she likely won’t be a Muslim in a version of the controversial burqini. She will almost certainly be a Catholic nun in her summer habit either watching children in her care or, God forbid, just enjoying some sun, which is considered a human right here in Italy, where the sea defines the majority of the borders.  

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Some Nuns are required by their religion to wear certain clothing. As far as I’m aware in most modern countries Muslim women wear what they want to wear.

How immoral is this:

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The French intolerance is being challenged and causing divisions up to Government level.

Guardian: France’s burkini ban row divides government as court mulls legality

France’s prime minister, Manuel Valls, has clashed with his education minister amid growing divisions in the government over the controversial burkini bans on some beaches.

The education minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, one of the Socialist government’s leading feminist voices, was highly critical of the growing number of burkini bans.

France’s highest court – the state council – began hearing arguments on Thursday from the Human Rights League and an anti-Islamophobia group, which are seeking to reverse a decision by the southern town of Villeneuve-Loubet, near Nice, to ban the full-body swimsuits.

Vallaud-Belkacem, who was born into a Muslim family in rural Morocco before moving to France aged four, told Europe 1 radio the proliferation of burkini bans was not welcome.

She said: “I think it’s a problem because it raises the question of our individual freedoms: how far will we go to check that an outfit is conforming to ‘good manners’?”

She warned that the bans had “let loose” verbal racism.

But moments after Vallaud-Belkacem spoke, her comments were flatly contradicted by Valls, who reiterated his support for mayors who have banned the garments.

Asked if the decrees amounted to racism, Valls said: “No, that’s a bad interpretation.” He said the full-body swimwear represented “the enslavement of women”.

Are Muslim women complaining of ‘enslavement’ in France due to what they wear? It is particularly ironic that authorities and politicians are trying to dictate what they can and can’t wear.

The various mayoral decrees do not explicitly use the word burkini; instead they ban “beachwear which ostentatiously displays religious affiliation”, citing reasons such as the need to protect public order, hygiene or French laws on secularism.

Laws on secularism that single out one religion?

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I don’t know if he or she is Muslim or French. Should it matter?

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Authorities in France claim that some beachwear is provocative, but their narrow intolerance is what is provocative.

And two things it has provoked is ridicule and protest. Deservedly.

ISIS perhaps but hardly Islam

As details appears that the Nice mass murderer emerge it appears that he was not even a moderate Muslim let alone radical, but despite no evidence of any connection ISIS claim he was acting for them.

And the French defence minister blames ISIS regardless of whether there was any actual links or not.

Some accounts of Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel conflict and some are vague and unsubstantiated, which will provide enough ammunition for people with a variety of views to claim what happened in Nice fits their opinion on who and what was to blame.

From New York Times: France Blames ISIS for Inspiring Terrorist Attack in Nice

The Islamic State had kept silent on the Nice attack until Saturday morning, when it declared, in a bulletin issued in Arabic and in English on its Amaq News Agency channel: “Executor of the deadly operation in Nice, France, was a soldier of the Islamic State. He executed the operation in response to calls to target citizens of coalition nations, which fight the Islamic State.”

 The claim must be greeted with caution, because there was yet no evidence suggesting that the driver was radicalized, or had even been exposed to the Islamic State’s propaganda.

ISIS are using it for their propaganda whether there was any actual connection between them and the killer or not. We may or may not ever find out whether ISIS involvement was actual before the attack or opportunist after it.

In 2014, the Islamic State’s spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, called on the group’s followers to attack Westerners in retaliation for strikes by the United States-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. He has repeatedly singled out France, which is part of the coalition, as a main enemy.

However, no evidence has emerged that Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel got training or orders from the Islamic State. The Islamic State has blurred the line between operations planned and carried out by its core fighters and those carried out by sympathizers inspired, only at a distance, to commit violence.

The defence defence minister blames ISIS anyway.

But on Saturday, France’s defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said: “I remind you that Daesh’s ideologue, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, has for several weeks repeated calls to attack directly, even individually, Frenchmen, in particular, or Americans, wherever they are, by any means necessary,” using an Arabic name for the Islamic State.

 “It is murder, and Daesh’s claim of responsibility comes later, as has happened in other recent events,” Mr. Le Drian added. “Even if Daesh doesn’t do the organizing, Daesh inspires this terrorist spirit, against which we are fighting.”

Obviously ISIS/Daesh may influence and ‘inspire’ nutters to do terrible things. It’s just as feasible that inspiration and encouragement came from social media or was simply a copycat type of attack with ISIS being an excuse.

Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31, a native of Tunisia, had a history of petty crime going back to 2010. He received a six-month suspended sentence this year for assaulting a motorist, but was not on the radar of French intelligence agencies. Indeed, he seemed more like a surly misfit — he beat his wife, until she threw him out — than a prospective terrorist.

The country’s top law enforcement official, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, said Saturday: “The individual who committed this absolutely despicable, unspeakable crime was not known by the intelligence services, as he had not stood out over the past years — whether through court convictions or through his activity — for support of radical Islamist ideology.”

But Mr. Cazeneuve added: “It seems that he radicalized himself very quickly. In any case, these are the first elements that have come to light through the testimony of his acquaintances.”

It seems that Bouhlel was nothing like a model Muslim of any type, not moderate and certainly not radical. More of a petty criminal with a history of violence.

In Msaken, Tunisia, the attacker’s father, Mohamed Mondher Lahouaiej Bouhlel, told Agence France-Presse on Friday night that his son had depression, but that he “had almost no links to religion,” and that “he didn’t pray, he didn’t fast, he drank alcohol, and even used drugs.

The elder Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel said of his son, “From 2002 to 2004, he had problems that caused a nervous breakdown.”

“He would become angry, and he shouted,” he said, adding, “He would break anything he saw in front of him.”

However, The Huffington Post quoted Rabab Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a sister of the attacker, as saying the brother “did not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, but he also did not pray and never entered a mosque in his life.” She added: “He was just not stable psychologically and mentally. His wife and her mother both complained about his violent behavior toward her.”

Regardless of the conflicting claims about some of his habits it sounds like his religious practice, or lack of,  is such that ISIS might execute him for it.

ISIS propagandists will know that ‘ISIS attack’ will get headlines and the contradictions won’t be noticed by most people.

The reactions terrorists want

Terrorists, whether acting alone or part of a group, want to perpetrate of course but they are usually trying to provoke reactions that further inflame things. And they know that some prominent people and some powerful countries will feed their frenzy.

Anything said from France can be probably be excused at this stage.

But reactions like that of Newt Gingrich are very disappointing.

UK Independent: Newt Gingrich: Politician who almost became Donald Trump’s VP calls for Muslim deportation after Nice attack

One of Donald Trump’s top picks for vice president has demanded the government deport Muslims who follow Shariah law following an attack in France which left 84 people dead.

Just hours after a lone lorry driver killed scores of people in Nice during Bastille Day celebrations, former house speaker Newt Gingrich told Fox News that he is “happy” with “modern Muslims” who do not follow Shariah law but all other Muslims should not be allowed to stay in the US.

“Western civilization is in a war,” he said.

“We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported. Sharia is incompatible with Western civilization.”

Gingrich’s blanket intolerance is more incompatible with the civilised world.

Perhaps the US should test people for competence before they become politicians.

Fox News host Sean Hannity said he “wholeheartedly agreed” with Mr Gingrich’s claims.

And before they become media hosts.

They both agreed that they would blame president Barack Obama for “lacking the guts to do what is right” – and Mr Hannity questioned whether the US government could ascertain if incoming refugees “really wanted to assimilate”.

This is almost as horrifying as the terror attack in Nice and has the potential to do more damage on a much wider scale. It is doing exactly what terrorists want, promoting terror and escalating a volatile situation.

And unsurprisingly Donald trump also played on fears and increased the tensions of terrorism.

Daily Maily (Australia): ‘This is war. When will we learn? It is only getting worse’: Donald Trump quickly seizes on ‘horrific’ Nice Bastille Day attack:

  • Donald Trump quickly seized on reports of another deadly attack in France
  • He took to Twitter to say: ‘When will we learn? It is only getting worse’
  • The billionaire said ‘it’s about time’ Obama used the term ‘radical Islam’
  • If elected, he said he would ask Congress for declaration of war on ISIS
  • He also used the opportunity to reiterate his plan on banning people from ‘terrorist nations’ from entering the United States

And worryingly, as Tim Stanley (Telegraph) says: The Nice terror attack is why Donald Trump might win

Trump embodies not legalistic niceties but rough justice – at a time when Western society seems, to many voters, far too tolerant and weak. “Another horrific attack,” he tweeted in the aftermath of Nice. “When will we learn? It is only getting worse.”

The appeal is three dimensional. First, Trump says it how it is. A grim tradition has emerged since 9/11 of treating every terrorist attack like a mystery: politicians seem to wonder who did it and why.

Trump simply points the finger at radical Islamism. And while every other statesman sends “thoughts and prayers”, Trump talks about arming citizens and toughening up. In the aftermath of the Dallas shootings, he downplayed the race angle and put himself squarely behind the police.

Second, Trump’s ego offers the hope of action. Obama has allowed his presidency to be cast as reactive – responding to crises in a cool way that is temporarily reassuring but begs the question “what was he doing to prevent this from happening in the first place?” Trump’s constant tweeting about the need to smarten up suggests vigilance.

And, third, Trump’s policies contrast starkly with the suggestion that terrorism is something Americans just have to live with. He will build a wall to keep the illegals out. He will stop Muslims from migrating to America.

Never mind that there are plenty there already – roughly three million – and that they are law-abiding citizens with constitutional rights.

So if the terrorists help to get Trump elected President of the United States what then?

Mass destruction, genocide?

Trampling over the legal and constitutional rights of millions of people?

Vilifying hundreds of millions of people due to the actions of a few thousand extremists?

Trump on The O’Reilly Factor:

“It’s out of control. We have a president that doesn’t want to call it what it is,” he said. “And you know you look at World Trade Center, you look at San Bernardino, you look at Paris – 130 people killed and so many injured in Paris from that attack, and you look at Orlando. It’s out of control. … 

“Unless we get strong and really strong and very, very smart leadership, it’s only going to get worse.” 

Mr Trump previously said on Thursday night that he would prevent terrorist attacks in the US by making it “very hard for people to come into our country [from] terrorist areas” by requiring “extreme” documentation.

Would tattooing people be extreme enough?

Terrorists kill and create terror, but that happens in relatively isolated circumstances.

The leaders of major powers also have records of killing and creating terror, on a much larger scale.

I fear that’s where the world is headed. The reaction terrorists want.

I’m grateful I live in a relatively sane and tolerant country. A country remote from the worst that is likely to happen, but not immune to it if we react badly.

Details from Nice

Details are becoming more clear in the aftermath of the attack by truck in Nice, France.

Summary (from BBC):

  • A lorry has ploughed through a crowd during Bastille Day celebrations in the southern French city of Nice
  • At least 84 people are dead, including 10 children
  • 202 were injured, 52 remain in critical condition, 25 are in intensive care
  • The driver of the lorry was shot dead by police
  • He has been identified as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, known to police for violence and petty theft

More on the attacker: Nice attack: Lorry driver confirmed as Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel

The driver of a lorry that killed 84 people in an attack in the French city of Nice has been confirmed as Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, 31.

Prosecutor Francois Molins said Bouhlel had driven the lorry 2km (1.2 miles) along the Promenade des Anglais and fired at police before being shot dead.

Mr Molins said no group had admitted carrying out the attack but that it bore the hallmarks of jihadist terrorism.

Bouhlel drove the 19-tonne lorry into crowds celebrating Bastille Day at about 22:45 local time (20:45 GMT). He fired at officers with a 7.65mm calibre automatic pistol when the vehicle was close to the Negresco hotel and continued for another 300m, where his vehicle was stopped near the Palais de la Mediterranee hotel and he was shot dead.

Also found in the lorry were an ammunition magazine, a fake pistol, a replica Kalashnikov rifle, a replica M16 rifle and a dummy grenade.

There was also a bicycle, empty pallets, documents and a mobile phone. Items were later seized from Bouhlel’s Nice home.

Bouhlel, a chauffeur and delivery man, was “totally unknown to intelligence services… and was never flagged for signs of radicalisation”, Mr Molins said.

Tunisian security sources said Bouhlel had been married with three children and came from the Tunisian town of Msaken. He visited Tunisia frequently, the last time eight months ago.

Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas said the suspect had been given a suspended sentence in May following a confrontation with another driver but this was his only conviction.

Residents of his apartment building said he was a loner who did not respond when they said hello.

Bouhlel has caused many people extreme harm, he has generated terror in Nice, and whether he acted alone or not he has added to the fears of terror around the world, provoked shock, sadness and anger, and will cause millions of innocent people grief.

I hope that people in positions of state power don’t overreact and create a lot more innocent victims.

It should be remembered that so far only one person has been found to have been responsible for this atrocity in Nice.

UPDATE: Conflicting statements from French politicians.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls…

…says Nice attacker was one way or the other linked to radical Islamist circles.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told French TV…

“We have an individual who was not known to intelligence services for activities linked to radical Islam”.  Asked if he could confirm the attacker’s motives were linked to jihadism, he said: “No”.

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BBC’s Tunisia correspondent Rana Jawad caught up with Bouhlel’s father Monthir in Msaken:

“He took his treatment, his medicine, and we thought he was doing well – here’s the medical certificate. I took him to the psychologist, he followed his treatment but sometimes he would have nervous breakdowns and he would break everything and demolish everything. He has had a nervous problem and when he becomes nervous he breaks everything.  He had problems with his wife and I think that added to his mental health issues.”