Global Muslim women object to new burkini ban in Cannes

Cannes Mayor David Lisnar claimed that burkinis were a "symbol of Islamic extremism" and are "not respectful of [the] good morals and secularism" of France.

August 14, 2016 18:19
2 minute read.
Woman in burkini.

The burkini is under fire in France.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Burkinis, full-body swimsuits popular among beach-going Muslim women, have been banned from Cannes beaches. The French city's mayor issued the ban because he claimed the swimwear "could risk disrupting public order while France was the target of terrorist attacks," BBC reports.

Lisnar went on to say that burkinis were a "symbol of Islamic extremism" and are "not respectful of [the] good morals and secularism" of France.

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According to the The Daily Caller, the ordinance reads: "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, which it is necessary to prevent."

ABC reported that three women working with the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) contested the ordinance in court, but a Nice judge rejected their request to suspend the ban, saying it was within Cannes's jurisdiction under French law to forbid people from "invoking their religious beliefs to skirt common rules regulating relations between public authorities and private individuals". The judge also noted that the ban was instated "in the context of the state of emergency and recent Islamist attacks, notably in Nice a month ago".

CCIF plans to appeal the decision in Frances's highest courts.

Around the world, Muslim women reacted to the ban, with the BBC sharing a variety of their quotes.

Aysha Ziauddin, of Norfolk, wrote, "No-one has ever told me to wear it - it's my own choice. How is a woman on a beach swimming in a wet-suit with her head covered a symbol of Islamic extremism?"

Sabrina Akram, from Massachusetts, US, said "I honestly don't like exposing my body in public, and I like to work fashion into my preferences on how I wish to clothe myself. A big part of being in a modern society, part of living in freedom, is allowing people to live their life how they want to live it. By putting forward this ban [the mayor of Cannes] is infringing upon a human's basic right to live how they wish to. It's not the responsibility of a public servant to dictate how I choose to cover my body."

And from Gloucester, Maryam Ouiles told the BBC "I think it's outrageous that you would effectively be asked to uncover some flesh or leave," she said. "When did it become a crime to cover yourself? People are always complaining that Muslims should integrate more, but when we join you for a swim that's not right either. Why is it necessary for us to show off our bodies when we don't want to?"

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