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Burkini controversy renewed as swimsuit banned from French leisure park

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The burkini controversy has been reignited after the mayor of a small town in France banned the full-body swimwear from a new leisure park, despite high courts having ruled the ban as illegal the previous year.

Gerard Tardy, mayor of Lorette, a small town in France housing fewer than 5,000 people, banned the burkini in the newly opened Les Blondières leisure park, which covers an area of approximately 4,000 square metres and has large gardens, pools and an artificial beach.

A sign outlining the park’s rules has been posted on the entrance as well as article 4 of the Town Hall’s decree governing the site, stating that swimmers should “have decent attire and a correct attitude. On the beach monokinis, burkinis, veils that partially or totally conceal the face are banned,” RT news reported.

Aldo Oumouden, a spokesperson for the Grand Mosque in the nearby city of Saint Etienne said, “Wanting to ban the veil in this swimming area is an attack on the individual freedom of Muslims”.

In an interview with France Bleu, he said: “The mayor does not realise that this decision will further increase stigma. It is not only unnecessary but also devastating for community harmony.”

However, the mayor defended his decision, saying “we do not want aggressive and provocative outfits,” Le Progres reported.

Last year the mayor had faced controversy when he put up electric boards around the town asking Muslims to celebrate Ramazan “without making any noise”.

Another fierce debate had raged in France in 2016 when the burkini faced a ban in 30 seaside towns in the French Riviera.

The ban was eventually overruled by the State Council, France’s highest administrative court, in August calling it a “a serious and illegal attack on fundamental freedoms”.

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Muslim Global: Burkini controversy renewed as swimsuit banned from French leisure park
Burkini controversy renewed as swimsuit banned from French leisure park
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