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‘Burkini’ Wins Over French Legal Battle, Ban Suspended | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Woman in burkini, AP Photo

Paris-Burkini has officially won over its battle against a French ban, which had received its fair share of heated controversy.

The full-body swimming suit for Muslim females had been taking on headlines beyond France, raising arguments across Europe and even the United States.

France’s highest administrative court ruled on Friday afternoon that “burkini bans” being enforced on the country’s beaches are illegal and a violation of fundamental liberties.

The Council of State’s ruling against the resort of Villeneuve-Loubet is expected to set a precedent for the dozens of French towns that have also laid down such bans.

It said Villeneuve-Loubet’s ban had “seriously infringed, in a manner that was clearly illegal, fundamental liberties such as the freedom to come and go, religious freedom and individual freedom.”

According to the suspension, Nice’s ban had been lifted which translates into local police forces no longer being able to stop Muslim women from going to the beach or lying on the shore.

What’s worth mentioning is that the Council of State’s ruling deals only with Villeneuve-Loubet, one out of 31 other towns that had imposed similar bans. However, it can also be used as reference in similar lawsuits across the nation.

The original ban was challenged by the Human Rights League (LDH) and Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF), that took the case to the State Council.

In a statement, the LDH welcomed the verdict but said it will not resolve the presented issue.

Moreover, the ruling found that no evidence in favor of the prohibition which proved a risk to public order and was being caused by “the outfits worn by some people to go swimming.”

Many conservatives and right-wing French nationals supported the burkini ban, with some calling for it to be extended nationwide, while civil liberties campaigners, feminists and Muslims opposed it. The debate was fueled by footage of police trying to enforce the ban on a woman on the beach in Nice.