France’s highest administrative court overturned a French city’s ban on the burkini and limited mayors’ power in determining religious freedoms. The city of Villeneuve-Loubet had banned the burkini and this ruling only overturns their law, but it sets precedent that can be used to overturn other cities’ laws. Roughly thirty other cities have burkini bans in place.
The court ruled that the ban constitutes a “serious infringement on fundamental freedoms that are the freedom of movement, the freedom of belief and personal freedom.”
The issue of burkinis have torn apart France which puts a high emphasis on its secular nature. However, critics claim that the measures are anti-Muslim discrimination disguised as secularism. The legislation has pitted politicians against each other in the country, including human rights activists versus conservatives.
Former President Nicolas Sarkozy, looking to make a return to the Presidency, has called for a nationwide ban of burkinis. While Amnesty International Europe Director John Dalhuisen said, “By overturning a discriminatory ban that is fueled by and is fueling prejudice and intolerance, today’s decision has drawn an important line in the sand.”
The frenzy over the burkini ban reached a fever point when a picture of police officers forcing a woman to remove what was not a burkini went viral.
France has been hit by two high profile terrorist attacks linked to ISIS, one in Paris and another in Nice.