An Italian imam’s Facebook page was blocked after he indirectly criticised the recent burkini bans in France by posting an image of seven Catholic nuns, clad head to toe in their trademark gowns and veils, enjoying a beach by the sea.
Izzedin Elzir, the imam of Florence and president of the Union of Italian Islamic Communities (UCOII), was left surprised when his entire page was taken down by Facebook the following day because of a report that termed it fake.
Although Elzir’s page was restored within 24 hours after he provided Facebook with his ID, he says, “The whole incident seemed very strange to me. Do people really block an account just because some falsely claims it’s a fake one? I cannot help but think it had something to do with the picture I posted and the buzz it created.”
“I just wanted to get people to stop and and think. That’s why I posted the photo alone, without writing a single word. I didn’t want to take sides but rather to spur a healthy debate,” Elzir said.
Nice has become the latest French seaside resort to ban the burkini, the body-concealing swimsuit that has sparked heated debate in secular France.
Fifteen towns in the southeast, as well as others elsewhere in France, have already banned the burkini including nearby Cannes, where three women were each fined 38 euros ($43) under the ban at the weekend.
This article originally appeared on the New York Times, a partner of The Express Tribune.