A few days after Nice became the latest French town to ban the burkini, the Guardian published photographs on Tuesday of four male police officers on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice surrounding a woman and apparently ordering her to remove a long-sleeved cover-up.
From the Guardian:
After they arrive, she appears to remove a blue long-sleeved tunic, although one of the officers appears to take notes or issue an on-the-spot fine.
The photographs emerged as a mother of two also told on Tuesday how she had been fined on the beach in nearby Cannes wearing leggings, a tunic and a headscarf.
Her ticket, seen by French news agency AFP, read that she was not wearing “an outfit respecting good morals and secularism”.
The 34-year-old woman, who only gave her first name, Siam, told the Guardian: “I was sitting on a beach with my family. I was wearing a classic headscarf. I had no intention of swimming.”
“The saddest thing was that people were shouting ‘go home’, some were applauding the police,” a witness told the outlet. “Her daughter was crying.”
The move to ban burkinis across France—despite the fact that proponents of the ban don’t seem to know exactly what constitutes one—gained traction following the Bastille Day attacks in July, but French politicians have been increasingly intent on policing Muslim women’s clothing for many years now, tacitly reframing a misdirected bid for control as some kind of feminist liberation. Wearing a burqa or other clothing covering the face was outlawed in 2010; head scarves and other religious symbols were banned from French public schools in 2004.
Politico reports that Anouar Kbibech, the head of the French Council of Islamic Faith (CFCM), requested an “urgent” meeting with France’s interior minister on Tuesday, citing “the rising fear of stigmatization of Muslims in France.”
“Some mayors are using this issue exclusively for electoral and political purposes,” he added.
On Thursday, the ban will come before France’s highest administrative court following an appeal from the Human Rights League.