France’s highest administrative court has ruled that mayors can’t ban the “burkini,” a full-length swimsuit that some Muslim women wear to the beach.
With more than 30 French towns enforcing the burkini ban, the Aug 26 ruling, which suspended the ban in the town of Villeneuve-Loubet, may legally affect the future of burkini bans across France.
According to a CNN report, French officials said the bans were a response to recent terror attacks; they also said the ban was necessary to protect France’s tradition of secularism in public places. Religious freedom advocates argued that the ban was spurred by anti-Muslim bias and said it infringed on the right of conscience.
“By overturning a discriminatory ban that is fueled by and is fueling prejudice and intolerance, today’s decision has drawn an important line in the sand,” Amnesty International Europe Director John Dalhuisen said in a statement.
It’s not known if mayors will continue to enforce bans in their towns despite the ruling, but the court of public opinion continues to debate the issue worldwide.