The Mayor of the French city of Cannes, David Lisnard has banned the wearing of Burkinis on the beaches of the French Riviera resort.
A burkini is a full body swimsuit popular with Muslim women. Mayor Lisnard signed off on the ruling that “access to beaches and for swimming is banned to anyone who does not have (bathing apparel) which respects good customs and secularism”, which is a founding principle of the French republic.
“Beachwear which ostentatiously displays religious affiliation, when France and places of worship are currently the target of terrorist attacks, is liable to create risks of disrupting public order (crowds, scuffles etc) which it is necessary to prevent,” it says.
Head of municipal services for the town, Thierry Migoule sought to allay fears that the ruling was aimed at cracking down on any religion.
“We are not talking about banning the wearing of religious symbols on the beach … but ostentatious clothing which refers to an allegiance to terrorist movements which are at war with us,” he said.
Mr Migoule said that no burkini had been seen on any beach in Cannes since the ruling was signed on July 28 by the mayor.
The issue of Islamic forms of dressing has been an issue in France where the burqa and niqab has been banned in public places since 2004.
There is however no ban on wearing religious symbols or clothing.