France argues again over burkinis

Dhe French city of Grenoble authorized Muslim swimsuits, called burkinis, in public swimming pools on Monday. After three and a half hours of contentious debate, a slim majority of city councilors voted for a corresponding change in the pool rules. The city’s green mayor, Éric Piolle, has launched a national debate on the burkini with the plans. Critics have spoken of a creeping Islamization, while Piolle wants to give women the choice to wear as much or as little as they want in the water. Being topless is also allowed in the future.

The prefect Laurent Prévost had already announced Sunday evening a legal action if the burkini should be authorized in the public baths of Grenoble. According to the instructions he received from the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin, he will seize the administrative court to have the regulations suspended.

2016 burkini ban ruled illegal

There had already been a heated row over burkinis in France in the summer of 2016, and there were also local bans. Finally, the Council of State declared illegal a municipal burkini ban, as enacted on the Côte d’Azur. Municipalities then used health and safety justifications to continue to ban burkinis on beaches and baths.

France considers itself a secular country in which there is a strict separation of state and religion. The manipulation of religious symbols in public has repeatedly caused controversy, particularly in relation to Islam.

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