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Nice becomes latest French city to impose ‘BURKINI’ ban

burkini-on-beach image www.goodgirlsgo.com

A woman wears a burkini on a beach in Tunisia.

Nice has become the latest French resort to ban the burkini, the full-body Islamic swimsuit that has sparked heated debate in secular France.

Using language similar to the bans imposed in a string of other resorts on the French Riviera, the city barred clothing that “overtly manifests adherence to a religion at a time when France and places of worship are the target of terrorist attacks”.

The Nice ban refers specifically to last month’s Bastille Day truck attack in the city that claimed 86 lives, and the murder 12 days later of a Catholic priest near the northern city of Rouen.

Fifteen resorts in the south-east and others elsewhere in France have already banned the burkini, including the nearby city of Cannes, where three women were each fined €38 (£33) under the ban at the weekend.

Nice’s deputy mayor, Christian Estrosi, from the centre-right Républicains party, wrote in a letter to the prime minister, Manuel Valls, on Tuesday that “hiding the face or wearing a full-body costume to go to the beach is not in keeping with our ideal of social relations”.

Valls came under fire after saying on Wednesday that the burkini was “not compatible with the values of France”.

He cited the tensions in France after the jihadi attacks to justify his support for the mayors who had banned a garment he said was “founded on the subjugation of women”.

France’s Human Rights League accused Valls of “participating in the stigmatisation of a category of French people who have become suspect by virtue of their faith”.

Burkinis are a rare sight on French beaches, where a small minority of Muslim women can be seen bathing in ordinary clothes and wearing headscarves.

Islamic dress has long been a subject of debate in France, which was the first European country to ban the niqab, or full-face veil, in public in 2010, six years after outlawing the headscarf and other conspicuous religious symbols in state schools.

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Henry Sapiecha