PHOTOS have emerged of armed French police forcing a Muslim woman wearing a burkini on a Nice beach to undress, and could well be among some of the defining images of 2016 with severe repercussions in the near future.
The images show four fully equipped policemen standing over a woman resting on the Promenade des Anglais beach, while she removes her tunic as white beachgoers look on.
Authorities in Nice followed the example of other French towns and banned the burkini last week, arguing that clothing overtly connected to a religion had no place in secular France, especially given that the nation is effectively under attack from Islamic extremists.
The Promenade des Anglais is the site of last month’s horrendous Bastille Day attack which saw 86 people killed by an Islamic terrorist driving a truck.
Cannes has also banned the garment, designed to protect a woman’s modesty at the beach, and another Muslim woman has reported being forced to remove her clothing there, with locals allegedly jeering and applauding police as she did so.
Though supported by a broad section of the French, and indeed European, population in principle, seeing the ban in action is only likely to further inflame the already considerable controversy.
The image will certainly fuel Islamist propaganda and be used by radical preachers as evidence that France is at war, not with terrorism, but with Islam, opening the way for further attacks.