French resort town bans 'burkini' beach cover-ups

Credit: Reuters

The French resort town of Cannes has banned 'Burkini' full-body beach cover-ups popular with Muslim women as a potential risk to public order.

The town's mayor David Lisnard announced the bar on security grounds.

A new local law 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".

His decree also suggests that the swimwear does not respect "good morals and secularism".

Egyptian and German beach volleyball players compete at the Rio Olympics Credit: Reuters

A City Hall official said the measure, in effect until the end of August, could apply to burkini-style swimsuits. Violators risk a €38 euro (£33) fine.

The decree has caused controversy in France, with some saying the measure is discriminatory and inflames anti-Muslim racism.

It also leaves local officials with the challenge of trying to define which outfits are considered to be 'ostentatiously' religious.

France already bans women from wearing veils covering their face in public though this would not rule out the burkini.

More traditional? A sunbather in Cannes soaks up the rays Credit: Reuters

The mayor has previously described the burkini "the uniform of extremist Islamism, not of the Muslim religion".

In an interview in Nice-Matin newspaper, he said the new measure could also apply to saris worn by Indian bathers, because the clothing could hamper rescuers' efforts to save them in an emergency.