The small city of Grenoble, France with a population of just about 160,000 has just banned the wearing of Burkas (the garments that Muslim women are forced to wear when out in public) and “Burkinis” in all local swimming pools around the city.
The French Council of State:
“The new rules of procedure for the municipal swimming pools of Grenoble affect… the proper functioning of the public service, and undermines the equal treatment of users, so that the neutrality of public service is compromised”.
This court ruling to ban all burkinis overturned a decision by the Grenoble city council just a month earlier.
Many in the Muslim community are upset by the ruling stating that it is a “clear step backwards” and will further isolate muslim women from the rest of the native French community.
One muslim resident Fatima Bent, even went on record to insult the local Police and say that “the ruling comes down to a fixation with the body of Muslim women by politicians who want to control them”.
On the other side of the decision however, are many who strongly agree with the ruling and believe it helps to preserve French values.
In response to the ruling, France’s Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin, called the court order a “victory for secularism and above all for the Republic“.
Others in the government agree with Darmanin that the Burka or Burkini is not just a piece of clothing, but rather a physical and constant display of the muslim religion.
France already has a ban on Burkinis in most public pools, with Grenoble being just the latest to follow suit.
The UN has already called on France to lift the ban.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesman Rupert Colville has previously said that the ban is “fuelling religious intolerance and the stigmatisation of Muslims”. The French however might see it differently.
The Muslim population of France is currently at 9%, which is already the highest Muslim population in all of Europe and is expected to keep growing at an dramatic rate due to migration, conversion, and high birth rates.