Self-determination versus ideology: Allowing the burkini divides France

Self-determination versus ideology
Allowing the burkini divides France

People should wear what they want in the pool, says the mayor of the French city of Grenoble. In addition to topless, the burkini should also be allowed. But critics speak of creeping Islamization and do not hesitate to face threats.

The French city of Grenoble wants to discuss approving Muslim full-body swimsuits, the so-called burkinis, in public swimming pools this Monday. With the planned change to swimming pool regulations, the city’s green mayor, Éric Piolle, has launched a new national debate on the burkini. Critics speak 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. Topless should also be allowed in the future.

The mayor himself says that we must avoid discrimination in access to public services. Piolle emphasizes that it is about social progress, that people can wear what they want to go swimming. “In fact, it doesn’t matter to us whether it’s a covering swimsuit to protect you from the sun or for religious reasons, it’s none of our business,” the mayor recently told “Le Figaro” newspaper, lamenting ” extremely violent debates”.

The prefect Laurent Prévost announced Sunday evening a legal action if the port of the burkini was 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.

Quarrels have been brewing for a long time

In addition, opponents of the burkini have launched a petition. “A change in bathing rules would meet the demands of political Islam, i.e. a totalitarian and radical ideology,” the appeal reads. Burkinis have nothing to do with the Koran, it is about the sexist ideology of the enslavement of women. A rejection of burkinis is not Islamophobic, on the contrary, the particular claims of individual groups cannot be placed above the principles of the republic.

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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