Cannes bans full-body 'burkini' swimsuits from beaches

Cheryl Sanders
August 14, 2016

Burkinis have been banned at Cannes.

Weeks after France's southern city of Cannes placed a ban on "burkini" full-body swimsuits, the mayor of Villeneuve-Loubet has announced that his city will also be doing the same.

Mayor David Lisnard recently signed a ruling that prohibits anyone from wearing a bathing suit deemed disrespectful of "good customs and secularism".

"A beach outfit showing in an ostentatious manner a religious affiliation, given that France and religious places are now the target of terrorist acts, has the nature of creating risks of troubles of public order (mobs, conflicts, etc.) that are necessary to be prevented", said the new law. Violators risk a 38 euro (£32) fine.

Amid the chaos, Muslim rights organization are attempting to promote tolerance and the fact that Muslim extremists do not represent the religion or its followers as a whole.

That grief, mixed with fear and anger, goes some way to explaining the mayor of Cannes' weird latest pronouncement.

"It's ridiculous because I see naked people and I don't understand why I can't be dressed". "But I am shocked to find this in Cannes". We live in a common public space, there are rules to follow. She says the veil is not something innocent.

It is unclear whether the lawsuits against the Cannes officials will come to fruition or whether they will stop the burkini ban. But in France, if I am not mistaken, the wearing of full burqas and niqabs in public has been banned for a while, while the bikini is nearly a patriotic symbol.

The event in the suburb of Pennes-Mirabeau was the brainchild of Smile 13, a women's association catering for Arabs in Marseille, whose population of almost two million includes around 220,000 Muslims, mainly of Algerian origin.

A number of French media outlets have also questioned the ban, with Le Monde pointing out that while France does ban the veil, there is no precedent for this burkini ban. Proponents say the laws preserve secular values and protect women from religious oppression.

An umbrella group, the Collective Against Islamophobia, said it was filing a lawsuit to challenge the legality of Cannes' ban, saying it is "deeply worried".

The beachfront in Nice, France, near where a French-Tunisian attacker killed 84 people as he drove a lorry along the Promenade on July 14.

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