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Grenoble loses judicial battle to enforce French burkini ban

The city of Grenoble’s appeal was denied, and France’s highest administrative court upheld the ban on full-body “burkini” swimsuits in public pools. The city of Grenoble legalised all swimwear, including burkinis, last month, setting off a legal dispute with the federal government.

Muslim women typically wear burkinis to protect their modesty and their religion. However, the court ruled that “selected deviations to the regulations to satisfy religious demands” could not be permitted. After a local court in Grenoble delayed the ban on the grounds that it gravely harmed the principle of neutrality in public services, the dispute ultimately reached the Council of State.

Gérald Darmanin, the interior minister, added his voice to the discussion, calling the policy a “unacceptable provocation” that went against French secular ideals. The subject of religious expression in public spaces is contentious in France, where there are severe regulations regarding what swimming costumes can be worn. It is also recommended that burkinis be prohibited from public pools for hygienic reasons. Another restriction that Grenoble wanted to change by allowing longer swimming shorts was the requirement for men to wear tight-fitting swimming trunks.

The burkini has been opposed in France since at least 2016, when numerous local governments tried to restrict it on beaches for violating the nation’s tight division between religion and the state.

Picture Courtesy: google/images are subject to copyright

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