France’s highest administrative court, the Council of State [official website, in French] on Friday overturned [order, in French; press release, in French] the ban on full-body “burkini” swimsuits in the French city of Cannes. The court held that imposing a burkini ban is an affront to “fundamental freedoms,” including “freedom to come and go,” and “freedom of conscience and personal liberty.” A burkini is a full-bodied bathing suit primarily worn by Muslim women. Those in support of the burkini ban support their position claiming the garment is a means of “enslavement.” Those in opposition of the ban, including Muslim leaders and French human rights supporters, believe the ban highlights the “thinly veiled institutionalized Islamophobia” within the nation. Earlier this month a court in Nice upheld the ban [JURIST report] on burkinis, saying the ban is legal under a French law which prohibits activities disregarding public relations policies concerning religion.
Tensions in France have been high since an event in Nice last month in which more than 84 citizens were killed [BBC report] by a truck that drove through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day. The Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility [ABC News report] for the attack, which followed a call by IS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani for IS followers to kill non-believers in the West through any means possible. Four men believed to be connected to the attacked were arrested [JURIST report] by authorities later in July. The Bastille Day attack is the second most deadly in a string of terrorist acts in France, including the November 13 Charlie Hebdo attacks [BBC news archive], which claimed 130 lives, and the murder [BBC report] of two French police officials by a man claiming allegiance to IS.