Rebecca Vineyard
August 26, 2016 12:57 pm
Matt King/Getty Images

This summer, there’s been a lot of controversy surrounding burkinis, swimsuits designed for Muslim women that provide coverage for most of the body. Several cities in France have banned them, and several women have actually been forced to remove their burkinis — or even simple headscarves.

These bans are problematic for a number of reasons: They’re sexist and Islamophobic, for a start. Their supporters also claim they exist to better integrate Muslim citizens in France, while somehow missing that the bans are alienating those very citizens.

Reuters has reported that thankfully a French court has lifted the ban; the Council of State’s ruling against Villeneuve-Loubet will hopefully set a precedent and cause other towns to lift the ban. And while it probably won’t put an end to the controversy, or the spike in Islamophobia following the somewhat recent attacks in Paris and Nice, the ruling should also create a roadblock for those who want to implement a law banning burkinis nationwide.

The court said of the ban that Villeneuve-Loubet “had seriously infringed, in a manner that was clearly illegal, fundamental liberties such as the freedom to come and go, religious freedom and individual freedom.

While the court’s ruling does set a precedent, it doesn’t mean other towns have to lift their bans right away, Instead, it’s likely that each town will have to be brought to court and forced to do so (which is a massive waste of time and resources for everyone involved). So, rights groups are expected to be bringing more lawsuits to the Council of State.

Obviously, the burkini bans are just a small part of a fight to keep democratic nations accountable for protecting their citizens, especially those who are minorities, rather than practicing discrimination against them. It may not fix these deeper issues, but stopping the practice of telling women what (or what not) to wear is, at least, a place to start.

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