French court confirms ban on ‘burkinis’ in city’s swimming pools

Following a series of protests by local Muslim women, town had handed an edict in May 2021 permitting bathers at public swimming pools in Grenoble to make use of the swimwear.

But later that month, town’s administrative tribunal overruled the choice — a ruling upheld on Tuesday by France’s highest administrative courtroom.

In its ruling, the French Council of State invoked ideas of spiritual neutrality, concluding that allowing the “burkini” would undermine “the equal treatment of users, so that the neutrality of the public service is compromised.”

“Contrary to the claimed objective of the city of Grenoble,” town’s preliminary determination to authorize the “burkini” aimed “only to satisfy a demand of a religious nature,” the courtroom mentioned.

It additionally mentioned Grenoble’s determination would have allowed some bathers to contravene “hygiene and security rules.”

Religious neutrality is enshrined in fashionable French administrative ideas, which got a lift final 12 months by a so-called “separatism law,” handed by Emmanuel Macron’s authorities.

The laws, championed by right-leaning Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, explicitly prohibits acts whose “manifest objective is to give in to sectarian demands with religious aims.”

Muslim girls in France usually have issue accessing public companies as a result of strict limits on shows of spiritual conviction — one cause why such bans have been criticized by rights advocates, together with the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

The French authorities in 2004 banned “conspicuous” non secular symbols together with Muslim headscarves, Jewish skullcaps and enormous Christian crosses from French faculties. Full face veils, often called the niqab, are banned in all French public areas together with public transport and parks, streets and administrative buildings.

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