A Muslim woman wears a burkini, a swimsuit that leaves only the face, hands and feet exposed, as she swims in the Mediterranean Sea in Marseille, France, on August 17, 2016. (REUTERS/STRINGER)
August 24, 2016
In Nice, France this week, armed police walked onto a beach and forced a woman to shed her clothes. The woman was threatening public security, authorities say, by wearing clothes resembling the full-body bathing suit banned by 15 towns across the secular country. The so-called “burkini” is considered a sign of modesty by some Muslim women but a symbol of extremism by some French officials. And on Thursday, debate over its ban will land in France’s highest court.
Some onlookers reportedly applauded as police ordered the woman to take off her blue long-sleeved tunic, leaving her in a sleeveless top and leggings. Calls for her to “go home” echo anti-Muslim sentiment that has spread with increased concern about immigration and terrorism in the wake of ISIS-inspired attacks in France.
Scorn for the burkini ban is rampant online, stirring controversy across social media and a debate in French media over whether authorities have the legal standing to prevent women from wearing what they want. On Thursday, France’s highest administrative court will hear an appeal by the Human Rights League challenging the ban by several mayors. The court’s ruling will provide a legal precedent for towns across the country.
On Wednesday, The Stream will examine the debate online and off about freedom of religion, security and what it means to be French. Join the coversation at 19:30 GMT.
French police make woman remove clothing on Nice beach following burkini ban - The Guardian
France’s ‘burkini’ bans are about more than religion or clothing - The New York Times
French 'burkini' ban: secularism or security? - Al Jazeera English
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