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French court suspends burkini ban, controversy goes on

Saturday, August 27, 2016 - 01:47

A French court has suspended a ban on full-body ''burkini'' swimsuits imposed by a Mediterranean resort that has angered Muslims, feminists and civil liberties campaigners. Nathan Frandino reports.

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France's Council of State says the ban on full-body "burkini" swimsuits imposed by the resort town of Villeneuve-Loubet violates religious freedom. Patrice Spinosi, a League of Human Rights lawyer who challenged the ban, says it's a big victory. (SOUNDBITE) (French) LAWYER FOR THE HUMAN RIGHTS LEAGUE, PATRICE SPINOSI, SAYING: "Beyond the political polemic, the Council of State has declared what the law is. It has reduced the debate to its core, that is 'Is there a violation to fundamental freedoms?' The Council of State's response was, 'Yes, there is a disproportionate violation to religious freedoms.'" The court described the ban as quote - "clearly illegal." It said it also violates the freedom to come and go as well as individual freedom. The issue highlights France's difficulties in integrating its Muslim population, especially in the aftermath of recent attacks by Islamist militants. But critics of the ruling say the issue is far from settled. Conservative politicians, including ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy, have asked for a nationwide burkini ban. Sarkozy says a ban will be on the books if he's elected back to the presidency in 2017. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FORMER HEAD OF THE LES REPUBLICAINS POLITICAL PARTY AND FORMER FRENCH PRESIDENT, NICOLAS SARKOZY, SAYING: "I refuse for women to be veiled at school, at university, in public services, in firms - I refuse the burkini on the beaches of France, and in the swimming pools of France." While Council of State rulings do set precedents, several mayors are refusing to go along. And rights groups are promising to take the mayors to court, meaning more lawsuits are expected.

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French court suspends burkini ban, controversy goes on

Saturday, August 27, 2016 - 01:47