A French mayor is under fire for attempting to introduce a ban on women wearing burkinis and veils at a new public swimming complex in his town.
Gerard Tardy, the mayor of Lorette, south of Lyon in Central France, has said women wearing the full-body swimming costume or headscarves at the town’s new leisure park will be in breach of local laws as laid down in a Town Hall decree and faces removal by the security teams or police.
— FBleu StÉtienneLoire (@bleustetienne) June 28, 2017
The leisure park opened on June 23 and includes two man-made swimming areas and a beach the public must pay to access.
Article 4 of the decree says users must “have decent attire and a correct attitude.” It also states: “On the beach monokinis, burkinis, veils that partially or totally conceal the face are banned.”
A sign at the beach shows everything that is forbidden. As well as the Muslim headscarf, the Town Hall has also banned dogs, music, leaving litter, drinking alcohol and playing soccer.
Last summer about 30 resorts in the south of France tried to introduce a burkini ban but these were overturned by France’s highest administrative court the State Council (Conseil d’Etat). It called the bans “a serious and illegal attack on fundamental freedoms”.
Reacting to Lorette’s new burkini ban, Aldo Oumouden, spokesman for the Grande Mosque in the nearby city of Saint Etienne, told The Local: “Wanting to ban the veil in this swimming area is an attack on the individual freedom of Muslims. The mayor does not realize that this decision will further increase stigma. It is not only unnecessary but also devastating for community harmony.”