French court to rule on "burkinis" beach fines
Aug.25, Paris: A top French court is being asked to overturn bans imposed by 26 towns on women wearing full-body swimsuits known as "burkinis" on the beach.
A human rights group and an anti-Islamophobia association argue the bans are in breach of French law. Mayors, particularly on the Riviera, say the bans are protecting public order and rules on secularism.
Opinion polls suggest most French people back the bans but Muslims warn they are being targeted unfairly.
According to an Ifop survey, 64 percent of French people are in favour of the bans while another 30% are indifferent.
The bans appeared to have split senior members of the French government.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls waded into the debate on Thursday, backing the mayors and arguing that women wearing the burkini were testing the resistance of the French Republic, according to reports.
Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said the bans themselves were unwelcome, and objected to the idea that the clothing a woman wore on a beach could have any link to jihadist group Islamic State, BBC reported.
The Oslo Times International News Network