Why French court rejected the burkini ban

France's highest administrative court says French towns do not have the right to ban the now-controversial burkini, a modest bathing suit preferred by some Muslim women.

French towns do not have the right to ban the now-controversial burkini, a modest bathing ensemble preferred by some Muslim women because it covers their bodies.

Ruling on Friday, France's highest administrative court delegitimized a ban in the town of Villeneuve-Loubet, near Nice; Nice was the site of a July terrorist attack. The court’s ruling, which said the ban violates civil liberties, including freedom of movement and religious freedom, could affect more than 30 French towns that have also banned the swim attire, which is designed to cover everything but the face, hands, and feet.

Cannes Mayor David Lisnard, who issued an ordinance to ban the swim attire in late July, called the burkini "the symbol of Islamic extremism, not of the Muslim religion." The Cannes rule forbids attire that is "not respectful of good morals and secularism," as The Christian Science Monitor has reported.

But the ordinances in Cannes and other French towns have been widely criticized for stirring fear and intolerance. They gained widespread international attention after striking images circulated in the press and on social media this week showing armed police forcing a woman on the beach to remove her tunic.

Patrice Spinosi, a lawyer for the Human Rights League in Paris, which has fought the ban, called the ruling a “victory” that sets a legal precedent. She said the group will now ask other mayors to reverse their bans.

“The council has ruled and has showed that mayors do not have the right to set limits on wearing religious signs in public spaces, it is contrary to the freedom of religion, which is a fundamental freedom,” Mr. Spinosi told The New York Times.

As the Times points out, most of the towns’ prohibitions are temporary through the holiday season. The restrictions in Villeneuve-Loubet were set to end on Sept. 15.

France has already banned other religious attire. In 2011, it became the first European country to ban the burqa, a full-body covering, and the full-face veil, considered essential attire outside the home among some Muslim women. Before that, in 2004, the French government banned Muslim headscarves and other "conspicuous" religious symbols in schools.

Germany intends to ban full-face veils in places where identification is required, such as schools or government offices, to promote security and national cohesion, according to Germany's Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere. Many other countries have banned the attire in order to show action against terrorism.

"Since the rise of Islamophobia, legislating against the burqa and other forms of religious dress is low hanging fruit for politicians, while doing very little to address the root causes, which are far more complicated and nebulous than banning a form of dress," Nesrine Malik, a columnist for The Guardian, told CNN.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Why French court rejected the burkini ban
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today