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French Court Overturns Controversial ‘Burkini Ban’

A French court today suspended a ban of full-bodied swimsuits, used by female followers of Islam, that was enacted on a town on the Mediterranean coast of the European country. The ban became a rallying point for Muslims and religious tolerance advocates because it was seen as discriminating against followers of Islam.

This ban, often referred to as the ‘Burkini Ban’, is the latest in a series of laws and court orders in France seen as antagonizing French Muslims and immigrants. France and other European countries have been widely criticized as enacting laws and using inflammatory political rhetoric marginalizing Muslim communities.

The French court stated today that the Burkini ban “seriously and clearly illegally breached fundamental freedoms to come and go, freedom of beliefs and individual freedom.”

According to the BBC, this court ruling could establish a legal precedent in 30 other French towns which imposed similar bans discriminating against Muslims.

Amnesty International, which opposed the Burkini ban, issued a statement saying that such a ban does not improve public safety but does encourage public humiliation by women and communities wishing to practice their faith.

The French court stated that individual liberties cannot be restricted unless there is a proven risk to public order.

Many global commentators fault the French and other European governments for not emphasizing greater cooperation with Muslim minority communities making the fight against terrorism and Islamist violence harder. It will be recalled that European cities have been the routine target of violence from Islamist groups, the membership of which is largely drawn from European nationals.