CANNES, France, Aug. 12 (UPI) — Burqinis, the full-body swimwear designed for Muslim women, are now banned from the beaches of Cannes, France, the mayor said.
Mayor David Lisnard, citing the July 14 truck attack on the beach promenade in nearby Nice, in which more than 80 people died, called the clothing a “symbol of Islamic extremism” which could renew controversy and initiate possible violence. He added the ban on the head-to-ankle beachwear is meant to “protect the population” by reducing attention paid to Muslims in distinctive clothing.
Security along the French Riviera, which includes Cannes and Nice, has been strengthened since the Nice attack.
The law is in effect through August, Cannes’ peak tourist season; violators will be ordered to pay a $43 fine, but will first be asked to leave the beach or change into another outfit.
“Beachwear manifesting religious affiliation in an ostentatious way, while France and its religious sites are currently the target of terrorist attacks, could create the risk of disturbances to public order,” the law notes.
Linard said other religious symbolism, such as the Jewish skullcap known as the kippah and the hair covering worn by some Muslim women, a hijab, would be permitted on Cannes’ beaches.
The law faces challenges from human rights activists, and opposition from France’s Muslim Federation of the South, which called it an “abusive” use of power aimed at exclusion.