Grenoble, France’s top administrative court, has denied a prohibition on full body “Burkini” swimsuits in swimming pools.
The determination by Grenoble to authorise swimwear such as burkinis sparked a legal fight with the authorities.
Most of the time, burkinis are used by Muslim women as a means showing their modesty and as a means to affirm their faith.
Religious belief could be conflicting in public life in France though.
Just before Tuesday’s trial, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin described Grenoble city council’s swimwear policy as an “unacceptable provocation” which was in contravention of French secular values. A tribunal in Grenoble halted the policy earlier this month on the grounds it violated the concept of neutrality in public services.
For hygiene reasons, the ban on burkinis in swimming pools is likewise suggested. Grenoble, to begin with, has overturned a rule which states males must not put on tight swimming trunks. The city council even permitted males to put on Bermuda shorts, which aren’t ordinarily allowed.
A burkini’s a swimsuit that’s put on all around the entire body with the exception of the feet, face and hands.
The name is composed of a combination of the words “burka” as well as “bikini.”
Burkinis, in contrast to burkas, enable you to leave your face free.
Burkinis are sold to Muslim females as a means to swim in public while still following stringent modesty rules.
French protests against the burkini dated back as far as 2016 when a number of local governments attempted to ban it on beaches for breaking the rigid separation between state and religion.
State officials aren’t permitted to put on religious emblems at the office, but mayor Eric Piolle of Grenoble argues this shouldn’t prevent users of public services from dressing as they want.
The moves to loosen swimwear laws are opposed by the national government, which invoked a law passed last year to fight “Islamist separatism.”
The dispute reached the Council of State, which has in the past ruled against a burkini ban in some other places in France.
Critics view the burkini as providing a separatist view of French culture, and claim that permitting it to wear Muslim women places pressure on them to use it. Marine Le Pen criticized the burkini as being a “clothing of Islamist propaganda.”
Nevertheless advocates point out women must be permitted to decide the way they wish to cover their bodies, and that this doesn’t imply religious extremism.
The court is likely to issue a decision within the next few days.