A ‘burkini ban’ is now in place at popular French beaches, sparking outrage.

French human rights groups are outraged after the mayor of Cannes banned full-body swimsuits, or “burkinis“, from the city’s beaches.

Cannes’ mayor David Lisnard signed off on the ban last month in accordance with a litany of terrorist scares and attacks in the country, claiming the burkinis “could risk disrupting public order while France was the target of terrorist attacks”.

The BBC are reporting that Lisnard also claimed that burkinis were a “symbol of Islamic extremism” which are “not respectful of [the] good morals and secularism” upon which the French state was founded.

Human Rights groups like that of Collective Against Islamapohobia have spoken out against the ban, with executive Director Marwan Muhammad posting on Facebook that up to ten women have asked the group to sue the city of Cannes and that they are “currently conducting interlocutory action against Cannes.”

Anti-racism group SOS Racisme have also added their voices to what is becoming a fiery debate, criticising the Mayor’s “strategy of tension”.

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The Socialist Party have rejected the idea that the burkini ban is a wholly positive and necessary step to ease tensions. The party, in opposition to the Republicans who currently control Cannes, said the ban was an attempt to control headlines and one that would ultimately “play into the hands of religious fundamentalists.”

The ban, in effect until August 31, comes after France was declared a state of
emergency after a series of attacks on Paris, Nice and on a Catholic church in the northwest of the country.

It’s not the first time French law has dictated what female religious symbols are allowed to be on show, as it is home to some of the toughest legislation on headscarves in Europe. In 2004, girls were banned from wearing the hijab in state schools.

Feature image via Getty.

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