Due to the terror attacks in Nice on July 14, France has started to impose harsh laws that help ensure that secularism prevails. One such law was banning Burkini, a full-body swimsuit for women that is designed to be “in line with Islamic values”. The law was imposed in 15 French towns including Nice and Cannes. Although it was overturned in Nice on August 26, it is still in place in Corsica.
The overturn of the ban was taken as a good sign by Amnesty International, citing a reference to the long history of diversity and acceptance of different forms of faiths in France. The ban was widely protested across the world to curtail individual freedom and practice of faith due to the threat of terrorism. Women who wore burkini were given tickets for misconduct and “wearing an outfit respecting good morals and secularism.”
Amnesty International’s Europe Director, John Dalhuisen over the overturn of this ban said, “By overturning a discriminatory ban that is fuelled by and is fuelling prejudice and intolerance, today’s decision has drawn an important line in the sand. French authorities must now drop the pretense that these measures do anything to protect the rights of women. Rather, invasive and discriminatory measures such as these restrict women’s choices and are an assault on their freedoms of expression, religion, and right to non-discrimination.” Dalhuisen also said that the ban disrespected many of the Muslim women and girls who were discriminated in front of others.
In favor of the ban, many officials in France have said that such outfits promote fundamentalism towards the society, “wearing (an) outfit ostentatiously showing religious beliefs may be interpreted as affiliation with religious fundamentalism.” But French judges completely dismissed such counter claims, while giving the ruling that: “In the absence of such risks, the emotion and concerns arising from terrorist attacks, including those committed in Nice on July 14, are not sufficient to legally justify the contested ban.”