The 'burkini ban' is overturned, but who's in the right?

Article published on Aug. 29, 2016
Article published on Aug. 29, 2016

The Conseil d'État, the highest court in France, has ruled that the banning of burkinis on French beaches was "clearly illegal", but several local authorities have already vowed to ignore the ruling. Is this a triumph for democracy? 

Triumph of democracy and the rule of law - The Guardian, UK

The judgement is entirely correct, in the Guardian's opinion: "Now the highest court has clearly ruled that neither 'public order' nor 'emotions linked to terrorist acts' can be invoked to legitimise the ban... It will hopefully restore common decency and the rule of law, and emphasise that the burkini does not in itself threaten public order. If that had been the case, then France's state of emergency would have meant that, officially, citizens of different backgrounds or faiths could no longer safely sit on a beach together. The ruling isn't the solution to all the issues that have to be dealt with - that’s some way off. But hopefully it will give a troubled nation some breathing space." (27/08/2016)

Absurd debate shows France's true problems - Berliner Zeitung, Germany

The court has made a ruling that was long overdue, the Berliner Zeitung comments approvingly: "[The judges] have pointed out that France's stringently secular state system obliges the country to observe religious neutrality, but not the citizens, who are supposed to be able to live their lives according to their beliefs without any interference. This was a spark of common sense in a context of dreadful emotional darkness. But admittedly no more than that... This discussion about tolerance for burkinis is not and never has really been about this swimsuit that is accepted with equanimity by the rest of the world. If the debate has taken on absurd proportions now it is because this garment reminds us of what has gone wrong in the country that is home to Europe's largest Islamic community. And that is quite a lot." (27/08/2016)

Hatred under the veil - Le Figaro, France

The conservative daily Le Figaro believes France does indeed need laws curtailing veils in public: "Under the veil lies hatred of what we are and what we represent in their eyes. The burkini, which didn't even exist not so long ago, is not a modest and harmless piece of cloth but a symbolic piece of combat clothing whose first hostages are women. When will we look reality in the face? It's not up to the mayors to come up with adequate responses to the challenge we confront. The lawmakers must disarm the soldiers of this seditious offensive. As the current law can't do that, a new arsenal must be passed. Hence the need for a new parliamentary majority in 2017." (26/08/2016)

France sets the wrong priorities - Il Sole 24 Ore, Italy

The burkini ban on French beaches is hypocritical as long as Paris continues to support conservative Islam in Saudi Arabia, writes the business daily Il Sole 24 Ore: "[Hollande] awarded the [Saudi] prince the highest order of merit, the Legion of Honour, for the outstanding service of saving Areva, the French nuclear energy conglomerate, which was facing bankruptcy. On the one hand France bans the burkini, on the other it supports an absolutist kingdom with a blood-soaked royal family that makes massive use of the death penalty to eliminate its opponents and is the biggest financier of Islam in its most conservative and backward form." (24/08/2016)

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