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LNAT Question: Wearing a burkha in Western countries is just as offensive as wearing a bikini in Arab countries. Do you agree?
The burkha is a piece of clothing, similar to a veil that some Muslim women use to cover their face, revealing only their eyes. The bikini is a fashion item that has been adopted internationally, yet it originates from the Western countries. The bikini is a swimsuit, which covers a woman's breasts and pelvis. Western countries find the burkha offensive, it is seen as an oppressive garment that expunges a woman's identity. As for Middle Eastern countries, they once found bikinis to be offensive. However, as they have gradually become popular tourists destinations, they have adopted tolerant policies that are accepting of an array of cultures and religions. The correlation that has been identified in the essay question implies that Western countries are accepting of Arab culture to the same extent as Arab countries are accepting of Western culture. However, I do not agree that wearing a burkha in Western countries is just as offensive as wearing a bikini in Arab countries because as Arab countries have evolved their malleable policies to become less religious and more tolerant to the international community, Western countries have translated their fear of terrorism and radical Islam into Islamophobia.
Firstly, the tolerance the West has for Arab culture is not equal to the tolerance that Arab countries have for Western culture. Arab cities such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Manama, Doha, Kuwait City, and Muscat have become popular tourist attractions due to their shopping appeal and the warm season providing sunshine and glittering blue oceans all year-round. Arab countries have become more tolerant to Western cultures, as well as other cultures, due to the evolution of their societal structure and their economy. Meanwhile, the burgeon of terrorist attacks from organizations such as Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Taliban claim to be fighting for justice in the name of Islam, thus causing the Western countries to translate their fear and hate of terrorism into Islamophobia.
Islamophobia is prevalent in Western societies. Recently, after experiencing multiple terrorist attacks, the south of France has issued a ban against burkinis despite the large number of Arab tourists in southern France during the summer season. France made a bold statement proving it is not tolerant to Islamic culture. This is an act of racism and it defies the laws of freedom, which have been set by the United Nations to preserve and protect human rights.
Saudi Arabia remains conservative in its policies; it would not permit women to wear bikinis on the beach, however Saudi Arabia is the capital of the Islamic religion. Similarly, the Vatican would also frown upon women dressing immodestly and would most likely ban the bikini swimsuit on their beaches, had they not been located in the heart of Italy rather than on the coast. Religious capitals have the right to practice their religions how they desire, implement the policies that suit them best and other countries and cultures must be tolerant and accepting.
In conclusion, it is evident that wearing a burkha in Western countries is not as offensive as wearing a bikini in Arab countries. This is due to the fear of terrorism and Islamophobia, which has become ubiquitous in Western nations. There is no perfect culture and there is no perfect interpretation of religion, yet there is always hope for a peaceful society. People must be tolerant, accepting and respectful towards other cultures and religions. All conflicts, small and large, are rooted in ideological clashes. The United Nations can not do anything to maintain peace if the citizens of the world are not willing to cooperate. It is not the religious person that dresses modestly whom is close minded, it is the person whom refuses to accept anything that defies what he or she believes to be true. Racism has caused many wars and has ended many lives, it is time to become accepting and unite against the true injustices: terrorist organizations and corrupt governments.