French court confirms ban on ‘burkinis’ in Grenoble swimming pools

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A day at the pool will be out of reach for some women this summer in the eastern French city of Grenoble, after the High Court upheld a ban on full-length swimsuits known as “”Burkinis‘In the public swimming pool.

Follows A series of protests by local Muslim womenThe city passed an order in May 2021 in Grenoble allowing swimmers to use swimwear in public pools.

But later that month, the city’s administrative tribunal overturned the decision – a ruling upheld on Tuesday by France’s highest administrative court.

In its ruling, the French Council of State called for the principles of religious neutrality, concluding that allowing “Burkini” would “undermine equal treatment of users, thus compromising the neutrality of public service.”

“Contrary to what the city of Grenoble claimed, the purpose of the city’s initial decision to authorize” Burkini “was to” satisfy the demands of a religious nature only, “the court said.

He also said that Grenoble’s decision would have allowed some bathers to violate “hygiene and safety rules”.

Religious neutrality is embedded in modern French administrative principles, promoted by the so-called “separatist law” passed by Emanuel Macron’s government last year.

The law, championed by right-wing Interior Minister Gerald Darmenin, explicitly prohibits acts aimed at “accepting sectarian demands with religious motives.”

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Muslim women in France often have difficulty accessing public services due to strict restrictions on the display of religious beliefs – one reason why such restrictions have been criticized by rights advocates, including the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

French government in 2004 Restricted “Clear” religious symbols, including Muslim headscarves, Jewish schoolcaps, and large Christian crosses from French schools. The full-face veil, known as the niqab, is banned from public transport and in all French public spaces, including parks, streets and administrative buildings.

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