This decision is likely to reignite the age-old controversy over the full-body Islamic swimwear, called the burkini. Grenoble city council approved on Monday an amendment to the rules of public swimming pools that would allow the burkini to be worn.
After three and a half hours of contentious debate, a slim majority of city council members voted in favor of a similar change in swimming pool regulations. The city’s green mayor, Eric Peul, has started a nationwide debate on the burkini with the plans.
Critics have spoken of creeping Islamization, while Piolle wants to give women the option to dress as they like in the water. It is also allowed to go topless in the future.
The mayor’s accusation: acting like a ‘Zemmour left’
Before the vote, opposition representatives accused the mayor of wanting to be in the national media “at any cost”. He acted like a “leftist horn” and carried out an “unprecedented strike against Muslim women” who demanded nothing.
After the vote, they expressed their great disappointment and announced that they would immediately appeal the cancellation of the vote. “You have a very serious responsibility,” former Conservative Mayor Alain Carignon said before visibly withdrawing from City Council with his faction in protest.
Greene Mayor Eric Buell has brushed off opposition objections, citing “feminist struggle”, “health” and “secularism” because there is nothing to prevent religious clothing from being worn in public “not even in the swimming pool”.
chants of the burkini supporters
Deputy Sports Minister Céline Minéttier explained that in the revised house rules for swimming pools, there is no longer a set length for swimwear. This will allow women to swim topless and all bathers will be able to wear swimwear to protect them from the sun.
The controversial “Alliance Citoyenne” group, which has organized several protests in the swimming pools of Grenoble since 2019, has called for the burkini to be worn. Assembly sympathizers, who gathered in a hall in the city hall of Grenoble, followed the meeting via video broadcast.
The president (LR) of Auvergne Rhone-Alpes, Laurent Wokes, immediately responded to the city council vote, accusing Eric Peul of “finally cutting him off from secularism and the values of our republic”.
And the governor of the province of Isère, Laurent Prevost, had already announced on Sunday evening that legal action would be taken if the burkini were to be given the go-ahead in Grenoble’s public baths.
As instructed by the Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, he will go to the Administrative Court to suspend the regulation.
Burkini ban on Cote d’Azur
There was already a heated debate about the burkini in France in the summer of 2016, and there was also a local ban. Finally, the Council of State declared the municipal burkini ban, as enacted on the Cote d’Azur, illegal.
The municipalities then used hygiene and safety rationales to further ban the burkini from beaches and baths.
France considers itself a secular country in which there is a strict separation between state and religion. The handling of religious symbols in public has generated frequent controversy, particularly in relation to Islam.
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