French minister Bernard Cazeneuve says banning burkinis unconstitutional


A woman wearing a burkini walks in the water on a beach in Marseille, on August 27, 2016. (Reuters)

French mayors are refusing to remove a ban on burkinis despite the country’s highest administrative court ruling them as illegal.
On Friday, France’s Council of State suspended the controversial ban on Muslim women’s full-body swimsuits on the grounds that it violates the basic freedoms of dress, religious expression and movement.
As of Sunday, over 20 French mayors have been still defiantly upholding the ban, according to which municipal police can stop and fine any woman wearing burkini despite the statement released by the council saying that the restrictions are a “serious and manifestly illegal violation of fundamental freedoms.”
During an interview published on Sunday, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said that apart from only stoking tensions between communities, the ban would also be unconstitutional.
“The government … refuses to legislate on this because a law would be unconstitutional, ineffective and likely to create antagonism and irreparable tensions,” he said. “We do not need a new law. Current laws clearly lay out France’s secularism.”
The Council of State ruled the ban illegal after an appeal by the League of Human Rights to overturn the burkini ban in the town of Villeneuve-Loubet.
The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) praised the court’s decision as a “victory for common sense.”
“This victory for common sense will help to take the tension out of a situation which has become very tense for our Muslim compatriots, especially women,” said the CFCM secretary general, Abdallah Zekri.

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