France’s controversial burkini ban has been overturned by the country’s highest court of appeal after it sparked outrage when Muslim women were ordered to remove the garments on beaches.
The League of Human Rights asked the Council of State to suspend the ruling in the Mediterranean town of Villeneuve-Loubet on the basis that it contravenes civil liberties.
It comes after images of a Muslim Frenchwoman being ordered to remove her burkini by armed police on Nice beach sparked outrage around the world.
The court ruled that the burkini ban “seriously, and clearly illegally, breached the fundamental freedoms to come and go, the freedom of beliefs and individual freedom.”
Three judges at the Council of State in Paris ruled in favour of an appeal by the Human Rights League (LDH) and Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF).
A tribunal in the Riviera city had on Monday ruled a burkini ban in the nearby town of Villeneuve-Loubet was ‘necessary, appropriate and proportionate to prevent public disorder.
But the Council of State’s verdict is now expected to set a legal precedent for the other French municipalities that have similar bans in place.
At least 15 cities, resorts and towns have implemented bans on swimwear this summer and many more were considering the same move.
The bans have since sparked fierce debate about France’s secular values, women’s rights and religious freedom.
Nicolas Sarkozy, the former French president, on Thursday called for a full ban, as he warned that immigrants, minorities and the Left were threatening to destroy French identity.
In the first big speech of his campaign to win back the office he lost in 2012, Mr Sarkozy stole many ideas of the far-Right Front National,promising to reclaim France ‘for the French’.
“I refuse to let the burkini impose itself at French beaches and swimming pools,” he said, linking the garment to the July attack in Nice in which an Islamic State linked lorry driver killed 85 people.
But the groups who brought today’s appeal pointed to the fact that 30 Muslims were among the dead in Nice, and that the attack had absolutely nothing to do with swimwear whatsoever.
Instead they said the ban was being used by racists to spread collective guilt among five million plus French Muslims, many of whom have strong links to former French colonies.
As the authorities in resorts such as Nice and Cannes have proved, they argued,the ban was being used to discriminate against Muslim women, no matter what they were wearing.
In 2010, France became the first European country to ban the Islamic veil in public places, six years after outlawing the headscarf and other conspicuous religious symbols in state schools.
Security analysts have warned that the dispute will fuel jihadist propaganda groups like Isis, as they attempt to portray France and other Western countries as being at war with Muslims.
Manuel Valls, the French Prime Minister, said he was not in favour of nationwide legislation but appeared to support the law in principle by claiming the burkini was ‘based on the enslavement of women.’
News Source MirrorNews