[JURIST] Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy [BBC profile] stated to the press on Monday that he would amend the constitution to ban full-body “burkini” swimsuits if re-elected next April. His comments [Reuters report] came after a statement was made by Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who said a ban on burkinis would be unconstitutional [La Croix report, in French]. In response, Sarkozy said: “Well, then we change the constitution. We’ve changed it thirty odd times, it’s not a problem.” Earlier this week, France’s highest administrative court overturned [JURIST report] the ban on burkinis. Also 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.