Following the banning of the full-body swimsuit -- also known as the “burkini” -- in several French towns, a new French government Muslim organization head was trolled on Twitter after suggesting that Muslims should be more “discreet.” The Foundation of French Islam has been created to help better integrate France’s Muslim population. However, Jean-Pierre Chevenement, who is set to head up the group, is not currying favor with the public.
According to Middle East Eye, Chevenement, who is not Muslim, in reference to towns that have carried out the burkini ban, has said Muslims that need to do their best to fit in. So far, the riviera resort of Cannes, Villeneuve-Loubet and Sisco on the island of Corsica, have expressed their desire to ban the burkini.
Chevenement told French a newspaper that “Muslims, like all French citizens, should be able to worship freely but they must also understand that in the public space where there is public interest, all citizens should make the effort to use ‘natural reason.’“
The towns that banned the burkini are known for being conservative and believe that the garment which covers up everything only leaving the hands, feet and face exposed, goes against French laws on secularism.
France has the largest Muslim minority in Europe, estimated to be around 5 million people. Tensions have been high since the deadly attacks by Islamist militants resulting in the bombings and shootings in Paris which claimed the lives of 130 people in November 2015.
Jean-Pierre Chevenement’s comments caused an uproar on Twitter where the hashtag #MusulamDiscret began trending. Many users mocked him and wondered exactly how a “discreet Muslim” is expected to act.
Check out some of the tweets below.
Translation: “Drink tea in this kind of glass”
Translation: “What? A prayer rug in my home? No, it's just that I'm a Fan of Aladdin”
Translation: “Huh, what? My scarf? A Hijab? No, never, my scalp is a little bit sensitive to the cold". #DiscreetMuslims”
Translation: “Don’t say 'I observe Ramadan' say 'I practice therapeutical fasting' #CleverMuslim”