By Maajid Nawaz
UPDATE, 4:00 P.M, 26 August 2016: On Friday, the highest administrative court in France suspended the controversial ban on “burkinis” in a test case brought by human-rights organizations. Officials say the suspension will likely set the precedent for other areas seeking to prohibit burkinis via mayoral decrees. In its ruling the court described the edict passed August 5 by the resort town of Villeneuve-Loubet as a “serious and plainly illegal” infringement of “fundamental freedoms.”
LONDON — That great French Republic has banned another piece of cloth. The origins of this burkini (or burqini) ban furor are alarming. A Muslim group in Marseille wanted to have an all-burkini day, and the mere notion provoked a storm of controversy. Then the all-over bathing suit was banned in the Riviera resort of Cannes, where a French official rather absurdly described it as displaying “an allegiance to terrorist movements that are at war with us.”
One Corsican village called Sisco banned the full-body swimsuit following a darkly comical mass brawl involving French-Muslim men of North African origin who took offense at photographers taking snaps of burkini-clad women on a local beach. Some of the brawlers reportedly were armed with hatchets. Five people, including a pregnant woman, were injured. One man’s wounds were caused by a harpoon.
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