French mayor of Cannes bans ‘burkini’ swimwear

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Volunteer surf life saver Mecca Laalaa runs along North Cronulla Beach in Sydney during her Bronze medallion competency test in 2007. Photo by Tim Wimborne/Reuters

Volunteer surf life saver Mecca Laalaa runs along North Cronulla Beach in Sydney during her Bronze medallion competency test in 2007. Photo by Tim Wimborne/Reuters

A beachgoer in Cannes, France, can now be fined and asked to leave the beach if caught wearing a “burkini,” a full-body swimsuit preferred by Muslim women.

Cannes mayor David Lisnard said the burkini is a “symbol of Islamic extremism” and might disturb the peace in the wake of Islamist attacks on France, BBC reported.

Lisnard’s new official ruling says that “access to beaches and for swimming is banned to any person wearing improper clothes that are not respectful of good morals and secularism.”

“Beachwear which ostentatiously displays religious affiliation, when France and places of worship are currently the target of terrorist attacks, is liable to create risks of disrupting public order,” the ruling continued.

The ruling is temporary and in effect until the end of August, the Associated Press reported. The penalty is a 38 euro, $42, fine.

The ban has received sharp criticism from French media. Le Monde, a French newspaper, challenged the law’s legality, while another French newspaper, Liberation, accused the ban of being purely political.

This kind of ban is not new to France. In 2010, the French parliament passed a law banning burqas and forbidding people from concealing their faces in public. It was the first European country to do so.

Since then, Belgium has also banned full-face veils. Switzerland, the Netherlands and Spain have partial bans, while Italy has also put a stop to “burkinis” in certain parts of the country, The Telegraph reported.

Germany could be next to adopt a similar law. Senior officials have called for a ban on burqas and an end to dual citizenship in response to recent terrorist attacks.

The League of Human Rights said in a statement that it would challenge the “burkini” ban in court.

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