Firestorm in France after restaurant refuses service to veiled Muslim women

Cheryl Sanders
August 31, 2016

Several French mayors have reportedly maintained their bans despite Friday's ruling concerning the town of Villeneuve-Loubet, near Nice, which could affect cities around the country.

"We urge all remaining local authorities which have adopted similar bans to repeal them immediately, rather than exploit the limited geographical scope of this particular decision in order to keep their highly discriminatory bans in place until the end of the current holiday season", he said.

France's Council of State ruled last week that the ban carried a "serious and manifestly illegal infringement of fundamental freedoms such as the freedom to come and go, freedom of conscience and personal freedom".

A French court has overturned a ban on burkinis issued in Cannes - the first in a series of bans on the swimwear this summer that set off a heated controversy at home and a wave of outrage overseas.

One of the women recorded the incident and posted the video on Twitter.

He told reporters that some people wanted to use burkinis to stigmatize Muslims, while politicians looking to France 2017 presidential race seized the issue "for vote-catching reasons".

Speaking to Catholic newspaper "La Croix", Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the ban was "unconstitutional, ineffective and would evoke antagonisms and irreparable tensions".

And how are politics contributing to the debate over the future of Islam in France?

The first place to ban burkinis was Cannes on the French Riviera, with Mayor David Lisnard ruling that "access to beaches and for swimming is banned to anyone who does not have [bathing apparel] that respects good customs and secularism". This is a secular country and I have a right to an opinion... The CCIF (Committee Against Islamophobia in France) has issued a statement of support to the two women and pledged to give "emotional and legal support" to them.

Alain Juppe, a former Prime Minister, registered his disagreement with Sarkozy, claiming that he was opposed to a "law of circumstance", while also cautioning citizens against "throwing oil on the fire".

The police department has since opened an investigation and women's rights minister Laurence Rossignol has called upon the delegation that combats racism and anti-Semitism to look into the incident.

Around 30 towns have banned the burkini from their beaches, with some mayors linking the bans to the July 14 militant lorry attack in Nice that killed 86 and the murder of a Catholic priest near Rouen by Islamic State sympathisers.

Other reports by iNewsToday