French High Court overturns burkini ban.
France’s burkini ban was overturned by the High Court, which ruled that French mayors do not have the right to outlaw burkinis. Burkinis are a hybrid of the Muslim modesty garment, the burka, and a wetsuit, a warm waterproof garment used for aquatic sports.
The village of Villeneuve-Loubet, near Nice, was the first city to attempt to outlaw burkinis. Thirty cities then followed suit, claiming that the modesty garments could cover dangerous things beyond the female bodies that elected officials further wish to govern.
Nice suffered a violent truck rampage last month. The unconscionable attack resulted in the death of 80 people. There was also a stabbing of an 86-year-old priest in Northern France, both crimes committed in the name of ISIS, an Islam-based extremist group that the vast majority of Muslims themselves renounce. Current French Prime Minister Manuel Vall has voiced support of the burkini ban, as has former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is once again running for president.
The French High Court found that the paternalistic ban “seriously and clearly illegally breached fundamental freedoms.”
Recently, the burkini ban made news after French police ordered a Muslim woman to remove her burkini while on the beach.
“I think it’s a frightening image,” Jenny Dawkins, a Church of England priest, said. “I find it quite chilling to see an image of a woman surrounded by men with guns being told to take her clothes off.”
In 2011, France decided to ban the burka. People caught wearing a burka are forced to spend 150 euros (about $205) or public service duties to pay off the fines. Catholic habits and veils, however, are still allowed, as are Hebrew tznuits.
“French authorities should drop the pretense that these measures do anything to protect the rights of women,” Amnesty International‘s Director of Europe, John Dalhuisen, says. “These bans do nothing to increase public safety, but do a lot to promote public humiliation.”