Monday 20 November 2017

French PM backs bans on 'enslavement' burkini

French prime minister Manuel Valls. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP
French prime minister Manuel Valls. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP
Tunisian women, one wearing a “burkini”, a full-body swimsuit designed for Muslim women, walk at Ghar El Melh beach north of the capital Tunis. Photo: Fethi Belaid/AFP

Rory Mulholland

The French prime minister has backed local bans on burkinis because, he said, the swimwear is based on the "enslavement of women".

Manuel Valls was speaking after more beach towns followed the lead of Cannes and introduced their own local bans on the garment, which some women wear to meet Islamic requirements to dress modestly.

The burkini has become the subject of a heated national debate in France since the Cannes ban was imposed.

That ban was introduced following the Nice lorry attack, which killed 85 people on July 14, and will last until August 31.

The garment that covers the torso, limbs and head also apparently sparked a full-scale riot at the weekend on a beach in Corsica between men of north African origin and locals.

Mr Valls told 'La Provence' newspaper that the swimwear was a "provocation" and an "archaic vision" that women are "immodest, impure and that they should therefore be totally covered".

However, Mr Valls said he was not in favour of a national law against burkinis, saying: "General rules on clothing restrictions cannot be a solution."

France already has laws banning women and girls from wearing face-covering veils in public and headscarves in schools because they are religious symbols. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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