Muslims, France, and the war on shorts



Photo via UK’s Independent/ Getty Images

In the wake of the Burkini war, a violent skirmish of altogether different proportions has surfaced in France. In the southern French city of Toulon, two women wearing shorts were verbally assaulted as they made their way through an eastern neighborhood. Ten young men — allegedly Muslims — began insulting the women, who were out biking and rollerblading with their families, calling them “whores.” When the women’s spouses confronted the men, fighting broke out and the husbands and a male friend were severely beaten. One of the victims sustained severe facial fractures and another a broken nose.

Although two of the attackers were later sent to jail for their part in the brawl, the incident gained prominence on social media under the hashtag #TousEnShort, suggesting a link between the assault and Islam. Adding fuel to the fire was a statement by Julien Leonardelli, Department Secretary for the far right National Front Party in Haute-Garonne. He wrote on Twitter “Again, our freedoms are being severely attacked. Sharia is already installed.”

In early June, an 18-year-old girl named Maude Vallet said she was insulted, threatened and spat on by a group of girls while on a bus in Toulon. Another report claims a Muslim woman assaulted another young woman for bathing topless in Chateauneuf-sur-Charente on August 25.

Ironically, none of the above incidents triggered the attention and global outrage that greeted the Burkini ban. Supporters of conservative Islamism now rush to praise every hijabi achiever, and stand against injustices inflicted against them, but act with indifference when cultural clashes spin out of control and result in such criminal acts as those described in the above incidents.

The root cause behind such attacks is the self-righteous Islamism that promotes conservatism as a tool to maintain Islamic identity among Muslim communities in Western countries. It is hard to teach Muslim youth to respect others’ dress codes while indoctrinating them with the idea that covering the flesh is morally superior. This is a conundrum that will haunt Muslims, as their second-generation youth grow more defiant and detached from their local Western communities.

Some Muslims might find it unpalatable to admit, but this self-righteous Islamism will bring nothing but trouble to Muslim communities, not just in France, but in the wider Western world. Yes, Muslims have won the Burkini Battle, and got support even from the United Nations, which condemned the Burkini ban for “fuelling religious intolerance and the stigmatization of Muslims in France.”

The deafening silence surrounding attacks against local non-Muslims for their non-conservative attire, however, will equally fuel religious intolerance and the collective stigmatization of all Muslims.

Tension in France is already high, and Muslims bear considerable responsibility in helping diffuse the flames of hate. Muslims should stand for freedom and respect. There should be zero tolerance for any attack on non-Muslim women. If the Burkini has to be accepted in the Western world, then shorts, and even nudity, have to be mutually accepted by Muslims living in non-Muslim societies.


About nervana111

Doctor, blogger and Commentator on Middle East issues. The only practising doctor who write in Middle Eastern politics in UK.
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12 Responses to Muslims, France, and the war on shorts

  1. This one aimed at all Muslims living and visiting in west who don’t like western ways TO BAD so sad a woman in shorts or riding a bicycles not open to your interpretation in public… Just cover up yourself an cast your eyes down if unable to do that feel free travel to a country that accepts your ways the choices are getting limited or you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Perhaps the difference is that when Muslims attack non-Muslims for something like attire, there are already laws that deal with it – they aren’t getting away with it; those boys were arrested and charged. In the case of the woman and the burkini, it was the *authorities* attacking her for her attire.

    Have to agree that someone who tweets that “Sharia law is already being enforced” because teenage boys attacked someone is simply hysteria. Why not tweet that ‘misogyny has taken over Western society” when a non-Muslim man beats up his wife?

    I agree, too, that acceptance goes both ways, and there does need to be a concerted effort by the Muslim community to accept us as they expect us to accept them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • nervana111 says:

      Many thanks. Indeed agree on the hysteria. As for the legal side, I think legal actions will not alone stop cultural clashes, hence my call for respect and Freedom.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It is not a cultural norm in the west to gang assault people who dress differently. It is a cultural norm among muslims. It is common & typical in EVERY PART OF THE GLOBE islam is interacting with different cultures. When authorities stand by & do nothing (or only a token action) while one culture attacks & brutalizes others, the violent culture is being enforced one action at a time. When people are afraid to assert the rights they are entitled to, to walk freely, bicycle freely, dress freely, swim freely, it is the result of a WAR already being waged on them.


  3. J.Lac, France says:

    Dear Nervana – the way you pick up unpleasant, usually fabricated, incidents from the right wing media and blow them up out of all proportion makes you very popular indeed with far-right bloggers. Tough neocons like Anne-Elisabeth Moutet use you every day to “justify” their attacks on ordinary Muslims. It is very sad indeed. The incident you are writing about here had nothing to do with shorts whatsoever. Please read this:

    Please, please, stop pandering to these people, Nervana. Please investigate your own facts, and please follow your own agenda. Stop helping these vicious, vindicate people who just want to stigmatise ordinary Muslims. Thank you.


    • nervana111 says:

      The ” fabricated” incidents you mentioned were not reported in dodgy outlets, but in the Washington Post, New York times and the British’s Independent. None of those prestigious outlet are neocons or linked to any far right groups. all linked are included in my post. As for the local link you added, it admitted that the prosecutor claimed that the woman attacked for their shorts, so if that is not the truth, then you should direct your feedback to those presitgious outlets and not me, and if the WP and NYT retracted the story, then I will update mine. I hope the victims were not pressurised to change their stories.
      Nonetheless, the earlier story of a girl attacked in short is mentioned in the girl’s own blog and she never retracted it.
      Nonetheless, denying that islamists in France and other western countries resent women for their liberal dress code is just ridiculous. You clearly have your own agenda that would like to indulge in denial.

      I do not write to be popular, or please anyone, this is my own blog and I write what I personally believe. And for the record, I was personally harassed for wearing short by my own Muslim community. I refrained, however,from attacking them, I only appeal to them to respect other people freedom.

      Finally, It seems that you are happy to condone thuggery as long as it is not related to shorts. Interesting!


  4. J.Lac, France says:

    You have deleted my polite question asking why you describe the assailants in the “shorts” attack as “allegedly Muslims”, despite prosecutors and police in the French Republic not divulging religious affiliation. Why the censorship?


    • Fed up with hypocrites says:

      Unbelievable, you are the epitome of the intolerant bigot that you claim Nervana is. You would be the 1st to complain if a Muslim was assaulted, yet you refuse to accept that Muslims are also capable of such behaviour. What about the beach riot where the burkinI problem originated, or the Morrocan who althoufh he had a wife and young children stabbed a mother & 3 young girls because he didn’t like the way they were dressed. Not to mention all the regular attacks by mentally ill (lol) Muslims. So don’t accuse others of making things up you pathetic self-righteous bigot. You are either a Muslim or thick as shit and need to wise up!


  5. Doohickey says:

    perhaps the Muslims should poke out their eyes so they won’t sin.


  6. czarpo says:

    Excellent, clear and illuminating, as always. A pleasure to read. Would you agree to have it translated into Polish? Please mail me at


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