Europe

French court suspends authorization of burkini in public pools

Court notes that amending rules for religious purposes seriously undermines principle of neutrality of public service

Shweta Desai   | 26.05.2022
French court suspends authorization of burkini in public pools

PARIS

A French court on Wednesday suspended a decision by the Grenoble Municipal Council to allow Muslim women to wear the burkini, a full body swimming costume, in the city’s public pools. 

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin commended the administrative tribunal’s decision on Twitter.

“Excellent news: following our appeal, the administrative court suspends the deliberation of the town hall of Grenoble authorizing the 'burkini' in municipal swimming pools thanks to the tools of the separatism law wanted by Emmanuel Macron!” he said.

The court ordered the suspension of the rule, which was to come into force by June 1, on the complaint of the prefecture of Isere, where Grenoble is based.

The court noted that the amended rules allowed “certain users to free themselves from the obligation of close-fitting outfits for religious purposes" which "seriously undermined the principle of public service neutrality."

Darmanin and the prefecture authorities raised objections against the burkini, as it is regarded as “Islamist clothing” and contravened the principle of secularism laid down by the law of 1905 as well as the provisions of a controversial 2021 law confirming respect for the principles of the Republic. The display of religious signs in public places or government-owned buildings is prohibited under the law.

On May 16, the Grenoble city council abolished restrictions on abnormal clothing, thereby authorizing women to swim wearing the burkini or bare-breasted in public pools. It was the second city after Rennes to allow burkinis in public places.

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