In France You Can Wear What You Want, Unless You're Muslim

08/25/2016 03:02 pm ET | Updated Aug 25, 2016
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Imagine a woman relaxing on the beach with her kids. She is enjoying the sun and the ocean and spending a beautiful day with her family. Out of nowhere, four police officers show up and start speaking to her.

They form a circle around her, making it difficult for her to move. She feels threatened. Still sitting on the ground, she has no idea what she did wrong.

Peering down at her, the men ask her to undress. Yes, she must take her clothes off in front of everyone.

According to French taste, this woman is wearing too much clothes for the beach: She is wearing the so-called burkini.

When her daughter spots the police officers, she starts to cry, because she has no idea what's going on. Her sons are watching her undress in front of all the other beachgoers.

Imagine if onlookers started to applaud. Imagine if they yelled out: "Go back to where you came from."

If you give a veiled Statue of Liberty as a gift to the United States and then force women to undress in public, you really need our prayers.

Can you imagine how this woman must have felt? In addition to paying a fine, she was also forced to strip for an audience of strangers.

Imagine how you would feel if this had happened to your mother, sister, friend, or daughter. How would you feel if it had happened to you?

I should probably be outraged. Strangely, all I can feel is pure pity. No, not for the woman. She has my full respect. She obeyed their request to undress because she felt it would be the lesser evil. After all, this was happening in front of her children.

I feel sorry for France, and the French.

If you give a veiled Statue of Liberty as a gift to the United States and then force women to undress in public, you really need our prayers.

We came to Europe generations ago, hoping to find more freedom here than in our ancestors' countries. Now we're realizing that in Europe, too, freedom is a sham.

This has nothing to do with freedom or modernity. It is nothing but harassment and a violation of human rights.

Your chains are just as real -- they just look and feel different. People living in France are also subject to humiliating coercion. Don't you dare advertise your freedom again, because you have no idea what freedom means.

There were definitely people who enjoyed the show. Many people want freedom for women's breasts at all costs -- even if the woman has no interest in exposing hers.

It is very concerning that people think that this kind of striptease is appropriate. This has nothing to do with freedom or modernity. It is nothing but harassment and a violation of human rights, particularly a woman's right to wear what she wants.

It is obvious that women in France don't have the right to choose what to wear. They have to adhere to what men deem appropriate. Should a woman try to fight back, she will be punished -- just like in Afghanistan.

This post first appeared on HuffPost Germany. It has been translated into English and edited for clarity.

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