Paris, 24 Dzulqa’dah 1437/27 August 2016 (MINA) – France’s highest administrative court has suspended a controversial ban on full-body “burkini” swimsuits, pending a definitive ruling.
The State Council gave the ruling on Friday following a request from the League of Human Rights to overturn the ban in the Mediterranean town of Villeneuve-Loubet on the grounds it contravenes civil liberties, Al Jazeera reported.
In their ruling, three senior judges said the ban “has dealt a serious and clearly illegal blow to fundamental liberties such as the freedom of movement, freedom of conscience and personal liberty.”
They found that no evidence produced in favour of the prohibition proved a risk to public order was being caused by “the outfits worn by some people to go swimming”.
The court said in a statement that the decree to ban burkinis in Villeneuve-Loubet “seriously, and clearly illegally, breached the fundamental freedoms to come and go, the freedom of beliefs and individual freedom”.
Under the French legal system, temporary decisions can be handed down before the court takes more time to prepare a judgment on the underlying legality of the case.
The ruling is likely to set a precedent for about 30 French towns which have banned the burkini, mostly along the southeast coast.
A court in the Riviera resort of Nice upheld the ban earlier this week.
The burkini bans have triggered a fierce debate about the wearing of the full-body swimsuit, women’s rights and the French state’s strictly guarded secularism.
President Francois Hollande said on Thursday that life in France “supposes that everyone sticks to the rules and that there is neither provocation nor stigmatisation”.
France was the first European country to ban the wearing of the Islamic face veil in public in 2010.(T/R04/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)