Iain Dale is Leading Britain's Conversation.
24 August 2016, 15:05
James O'Brien's Vital Take On Burkini Ban
James O'Brien on the burkini ban: How would you feel if a nun was forced to take off her habit on a beach?
James O'Brien says anyone who agrees with the burkini ban must be happy to force nuns to take off their habits on beaches as well.
Women on beaches in Nice and Cannes were asked by armed police to remove their burkinis and headscarves following after they were banned.
Officials say they are not permitted to wear them due to their religious connotations.
So James says that must put nuns in the same category.
Speaking on his LBC show, he said: "Making this middle-aged woman take off a tunic on a beach in Nice apparently makes French people safer. Really?
"I like freedom more than I dislike these practices.
"If they were ordering everybody else to take off full body coverings on this beach, it would at least have the consistency of law. It would not be one law for you according to your religion and another law for everybody else.
"How would you feel if a nun at gunpoint was told to take off her habit?
"Sister Mary Frances was my headmistress when I was six years old. I would find that so outrageous, so absolutely outrageous that Sister Mary Frances would be told to take off her habit when she took us on a school trip to Wales.
"How would you feel, hand on hearth if nuns were being told in France to take off their habit on beaches?
And I think for the French justification of this to hold true, they'd have to do that as well.
"You couldn't go after the scuba divers because they're not dressed as scuba divers for 'religious reasons'. You couldn't go after the skin cancer sufferers because they haven't covered their skin from head to toe for 'religious reasons'.
"But you'd have to go after the nuns, wouldn't you? If a nun turned up on a beach in the south of France, how would you feel if she was ordered at gunpoint to take off her habit?
"And unless you're comfortable with that you can't really be comfortable with what's happening."