France’s highest court has suspended a ban on the “burkini” in the town of Villeneuve-Loubet, in a decision likely to lead to the overturn of 30 more such bans in towns across France.
The Council of State judgment said that the ban had breached “fundamental freedoms.”
Interestingly, France already has bans on the wearing in public of various religion-based items.
Hijabs were banned from public schools in 2004, along with other “ostentatious” religious articles, including large Christian crosses and the Jewish kippa. In 2007, full-face Islamic veils were banned from public places in France. In recent months, a number of French cities have issued their own bans on the burkini, a type of swimwear that covers most of the body.
I am not sure why those laws remains on the books while the burkini ban has been overturned. Surely those other bans are more wide ranging since women can’t wear those things anywhere, not just at the beach?
Interestingly, the burkini was apparently invented in Australia to be Muslim-friendly sportswear in order to allow Muslim women to participate more fully in activities that the more clumsy hijab did not allow, so in a sense it represents a slight movement towards secularism.