A French court has suspended the ban on full-body ‘burkini’ swimsuits imposed by a Mediterranean resort saying such enforcement on the country’s beaches is illegal and a violation of fundamental liberties.
The country’s highest administrative court, the Conseil d’Etat, was examining the laws brought in by the commune of Villeneuve-Loubet, however, its decision will set a precedent for the whole of France, and especially those towns that had also introduced such bans.
In its ruling the court said the ban “has dealt a serious and clearly illegal blow to fundamental liberties such as the freedom of movement, freedom of conscience and personal liberty”.
Yet despite this, many social commentators believe this decision will put an end to the controversy that has highlighted the difficulties the French have in integrating its Muslim population. Additionally, it also identifies the challenges Muslims in the country have faced following a series of deadly attacks carried out by Islamist extremists against the public over a 20-month period.
The decision was watched closely across France and around the world.
Lionnel Luca, the mayor of Villeneuve-Loubet, claimed the ruling only further served to progress the “rampant Islamisation” in France.
“Far from calming, this decision can only heighten passions and tensions, with the risk of trouble we wanted to avoid,” he says. He went on to say that since mayors could not do anything to prevent trouble it was up to the law.
The burkini issue has been around for a while now, with former French president Nicolas Sarkozy pushing for the ban. It is said that the debate will form a large part of the country’s 2017 presidential campaign.