Muslim Women Challenge French Burkini Ban

Campaign: operation burkini

A ban on wearing ‘burkinis’ in place in France was defied by Muslim women at a local swimming pool. This protest was inspired by U.S. civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks. The women bathed in suits which covered their entire bodies except for their hands, feet, and face in the city of Grenoble.

Many other pools other than the Jean Bron swimming pool enforce the ban on burkinis in France. Many people in France think of the swimsuit as a symbol which is incompatible with secularism.

The movement titled “operation burkini” began in the previous month by members of a group called Citizen Alliance of Grenoble in order to defend the rights of Muslim women.

The women changed into their burkinis and were then told by lifeguards that their swimsuits went against the pool rules. After hearing the lifeguards out, the women entered the pool and bathed for an hour amidst cheers and applause from members of the community.

The police arrived later and questioned the women. Each of the women were fined for flouting the rules. Two of the women said that they had a dream. They want to be able to have fun in public swimming pools, just like all the other citizens can. They’d like to be able to accompany their children whenever they’d like to swim while the weather is hot in Grenoble. The women added that they were fighting against policies which were discriminatory in nature as well as prejudice in France. They went on to say that they are being deprived of their civil rights to access public services as well as city-owned infrastructure.

In a Facebook post, Citizen Alliance said it was part of a campaign last year. A petition has been signed by 600 Muslim women asking the Grenoble Mayor Éric Piolle to change the rules for public swimming pools.

A member of France’s center-right party called The Republicans, Matthieu Chamussy, said that political Islam is the cause of women receding.

Burkinis is a play on “bikini” and “burka.” They are marketed to Muslim women as a way for them to swim in public while sticking to edicts on modesty. The burkini is a controversial topic in France. Many authority figures in different French towns have suggested banning burkinis.

France became the first country in 2010 to ban the full-face veil in public.

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