Several cities in France have banned women from wearing burqinis, a type of swimsuit for Muslim women.
The cities of Cannes, Villeneuve-Loubet and Sisco on the island of Corsica have banned the traditional swimsuit for Muslim women.
Burqini’s design is intended to comply with the Quranic instruction for women to dress modestly.
It covers the whole body except the face, the hands and the feet, whilst being light enough to enable swimming.
In August David Lisnard, the mayor of Cannes, banned the swimsuits, citing a possible link to Islamic extremism and disregard for French laws on secularism. He said: “Swimwear manifesting religious affiliation in an ostentatious way, while France and its religious sites are currently the target of terrorist attacks, could create risks of trouble to public order.”
The debate about Islamic dress has become particularly sensitive in France after a series of attacks by Islamist militants, including the murder of a Catholic priest by ISIS supporters, an attack that killed 85 people in Nice and the Paris attacks which killed 130 people last November.
The bans have already caused strong criticism from Muslim groups and anti-discrimination organisations, who argue women have the freedom to dress how they like.
France introduced a ban on wearing full-face niqab and burqa veils in public in 2010. The country has the largest Muslim minority in Western Europe, which is estimated at 5 million, a total of 5 to 10 percent of the national population.