muslim woman wearing a burkini in a public swimming pool
France upheld a ban against burkinis in public pools.

In France, it's quite normal to see women sunbathing on the beach topless. But if you cover up too much, you will now risk fines or jail time. 

A French court just upheld a ban on the "burkini" at public pools on the grounds that it violates France’s deeply-held secular principles. 

A burkini is a piece of swimwear very similar to a wetsuit, but designed specifically for Muslim women who observe the Islamic tradition of modest dress. They are worn only by a small number of French women, but they are frequently in French headlines, banned on this beach or that.

Now, the ban has come to public pools. Muslim women in France hoping to beat the heat this summer with a dip at the public pool will now have to violate their religious convictions to do so.

Burkini proponents say that it is blatantly discriminatory, but opponents argue it is necessary to protect France’s secular cultural identity.

The Burkini Battle

The debate over Islam's public role in France resurfaced yet again when the city of Grenoble voted to allow burkinis in public pools following pressure from local activists.

But an administrative tribunal reversed that decision, arguing that allowing religious swimwear in public pools runs counter to France’s secular values – a decision which was upheld in French courts.

Allowing burkinis, it was argued, would violate "the equal treatment of users, so that the neutrality of the public service is compromised."

A "separatism law" passed last year by the Macron administration backs that up; it prohibits any act where the goal is “to give in to sectarian demands with religious aims."

Grenoble Mayor Eric Piolle said that the change to allow burkinis was put in place to encourage equal access to public pools for everyone, regardless of faith. "All we want is for women and men to be able to dress how they want," he stated.

But others disagreed, believing that there’s no place for such overt religious displays in public life. On Twitter, Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin described the anti-burkini ruling as "a victory for the law against separatism, for secularism and beyond that, for the whole republic.”

Symbol of Oppression… Or Just a Swimsuit?

Anti-burkini activists view it as a sign of what they believe to be the slow "Islamization" of France. They say allowing Islamic expression not only erodes France’s national identity, but also endangers women.

"It's a sign of separatism and of the submission of women, the opposite of our values and our constitution," insists controversial right-wing leader Marine La Pen. "This is how Islamist fundamentalists take over. Victories involving food or clothing may seem innocuous, but are very grave."

Opponents also view the modest dress some Muslim women wear as a symbol of male oppression and patriarchy.

But many Muslim women say they’re not being forced to wear anything – they choose to wear a burka as a proud expression of their Islamic faith. As one activist put it, "they think our husbands or fathers make us wear it, which is totally false."

Who is the real oppressor, she asks? 

"Not letting women wear what they want is as oppressive as forcing women to wear the veil. It's two sides of the same coin: Oppressors who want to impose clothing restrictions on women."

What do you think? Can banning religious swimwear be justified on the grounds of protecting France’s secular identity? Or is this a case of unjust religious discrimination?

64 comments

  1. Rev. Elizabeth's Avatar Rev. Elizabeth

    I think if a woman is comfortable wearing her swimsuit she should be allowed. I don’t see how this could be harming anyone. I personally wear a modest bathing suit. Not to the extent Muslim wears theirs. I don’t like showing parts of my body and I just want to enjoy the pool or beach just as much as the scantily clad women do. They would get in trouble to wear their under clothing and that covers their body more than the bathing suit does. The country men like looking at scantily clad women. My personal belief should be that they are not hurting anyone. They are choosing this suit. It protects them from the suns rays and it keeps them modest. I like my modest suit. It’s not like the Muslim suits but I’m not showing parts of my body that I don’t want to show. My suit goes to below my knees and the top is a v-neck strapped top with a skirt on it that goes below my behind. I love this suit and I’m comfortable and I enjoy myself. If I were to be told I couldn’t wear it, I would be out there everyday with it on until I win. I bet the people who are making a fuss is men. They want to see almost naked ladies. They are just about there. The tops just cover the woman’s nipples and the bottom covers the front of the groin. The *** is all out for everyone to see. Like I said, underwear covers more. If they allow modest suits it may take hold and less scantily clad women. This is ridiculous, leave them alone. This is ridiculous.

    1. JaZe's Avatar JaZe

      Their next generation may give up those suits. A little modesty doesnt hurt. Fashion is mostly created by male designers.

      1. George Paoloni's Avatar George Paoloni

        My wife has Lupus and when bathing she wears a swimsuit designed to cover most of her body. Would that be banned?

  1. Rev Wayne Steven's Avatar Rev Wayne Steven

    Only one thing that comes to mind for me in this case is rather simple to the point how about live and let live or simply mind your own business in this case it is not hurting anybody except for possibly them heat stroke or something I think we in the world as anybody has a lot worse things to worry about I know it's just my imagination again a big capital letters live and let live

    1. Dr. Zerpersande's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande

      Yeah, but it isn’t about live and let live when the religiously delusional folk get given an inch and they take a mile. No cakes for gays can easily backtrack to the time where being gay was against the law. No, the religious folk have made their bed so let them lie it it.

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    Leave the women alone Yes let them wear a skin divers outfit and the hood that goes with it.It will be far safer than having extras like a scarf as it will drag them down and it will help Muslims cover up the whole body without upsetting people who don't understand their religion and life style.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Nicholas, I'm sure your wife is glad you leave those women alone, and feel that way. I bet she reads your comments on this blog, so you better stay in her good graces.

  1. Val Jester's Avatar Val Jester

    I believe the issue the French are trying to fix is the oppression of women. Certain sects of Islam consider women property, allow corporal punishment of wives and daughters and run contrary to everything modern feminism claims to stand against.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      The Freñch are well known for romance, and French men want to see naked females,plain and simple. Only Muslim men want women to to be fully covered, so they won't be tempted to stare at them, and lust for them, because they have a perverted notion that it's a sin. But what about their mental fantasies? Do they have to see a woman in a skimpy bikini to mentally undress them? I've never had to. Thank God I'm overimaginative, and have dark, prescription sunglasses.

    2. Morgan Constance Di Lieto's Avatar Morgan Constance Di Lieto

      Banning women from wearing certain items of clothing is oppression, whether it's enforced by a government or a religion. Not allowing a Muslim woman to wear a burkini, regardless of whether she has chosen to wear modest clothing or because she feels whe has to, is the State oppressing women (ironically, the very women that the State considers to be oppressed and controlled by Islamic rules).

    3. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

      So do many Christian religions and the Mormons.

      1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

        The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) is a Christian religion 🤗

        🦁♥️

        1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

          Depends on your definition of Christian. Mormon’s can can say they are Christian or Muslims, but that doesn’t mean they believe in the tenants of the religion.

          Last time I checked, Christians do not believe they will become Gods and Goddesses in the afterlife and have rule over their own planet and universe like the Mormons do. Or do Christians believe they can become Gods, and Goddesses now too?

          1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

            No, but they do believe in Jesus Christ, which, by definition, makes them Christians.

            Those who believe on Rev Moon makes them Moonies.

            🦁❤️

            1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

              I believe their was a Jesus Christ, and if you visit American prisons you will find about half of the inmates believe and state their name to be Jesus Christ. Does that mean we are all Christians?

              When Mitt Romney was running for president, the Mormons launched a public relations advertising plan to convince Americans Mormons ARE Christians.

              I guess what you are saying is if anyone wants to call themselves a Christian they are. Doesn't matter what they believe just what they want to call themselves. .

  1. Val Jester's Avatar Val Jester

    I believe the issue the French are trying to fix is the oppression of women. Certain sects of Islam consider women property, allow corporal punishment of wives and daughters and run contrary to everything modern feminism claims to stand against.

    1. Richard Darwin Richards's Avatar Richard Darwin Richards

      We agree 100% percent with you Minister Val!

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        Richard, who is the "We" you speak of? Did I miss something? Are you now admitting to having multiple personalities, and do you call yourselves Legion, or me, myself, and I?

    2. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

      So the solution is to visit further punishment and restriction on those women, and only those women? Are you sure about your reasoning? Or do you think that the French are just well intentioned but stupid?

    3. Keith Graham Ainsworth's Avatar Keith Graham Ainsworth

      The French government is oppressing women by dictating what they can or cannot wear

  1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

    I don't think those muscles women have a choice. So why the punishment on them? It's like whipping a dog for being on a leash.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      You're right, Mark! It's like Italian women growing mustaches.

  1. Rev. MichaelRS's Avatar Rev. MichaelRS

    And this is why in the United States we have the 1st Amendment which allows a High School football coach, not taking away any school time or game time or forcing any others to participate, to exercise his faith in front of God and everybody.

    1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

      Michael, get with the truth: Videos of the coach established conclusively that there was a great deal of coercion and it wasn't just one man it was a whole team screaming about Jesus and using peer pressure to course everyone else. Get with the truth.

    2. Val Jester's Avatar Val Jester

      I agree whole heartedly with your comment.

  1. Keith Allen Steele Eash's Avatar Keith Allen Steele Eash

    Good. Muslim women should be required to go 100% naked. Not joking either.

    1. Dr. Zerpersande's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande

      Please expound upon your ‘forced to go naked’ decree that you ‘aren’t joking’ about. I always try to gauge the depth of the water(or brazen silliness) before jumping in. But my guess is that I am going to need a ling rope to measure the ‘depth’ here.

      1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

        Don't mind him, he's a Ferengi.

        1. Maria Kendall Ahlsen's Avatar Maria Kendall Ahlsen

          I hope I am not the only geek who got that.

          1. Lady Celynia's Avatar Lady Celynia

            I got it and thought it insulted the Ferengi.

    2. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Keith, you finally said something I agree with.

  1. Dr. Zerpersande's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande

    Honestly? I’m glad to see it. The religiously delusional conservatives have started pushing their religious into law and so ANYTHING that they suffer is no longer no consequence to me, but it’s time for celebratory party! Can’t wear religious swimwear? Great! Make it a national thing! Only atheists can have beards! Burkas are forbidden! The funny little hats the Jewish wear? Out with those too. Hey! Enact a tax, call it the Willful Ignorance Tax Act.

    1. Keith Allen Steele Eash's Avatar Keith Allen Steele Eash

      Thete are certain things that can be allowed and certain things not. Your attack on Judaism is uncalled for. Their reason for wearing their head wear does not impose on others. You are specifically nitpicking because you hate religion. Guess what. I hate atheists who impose their heyred on others of faith when those of certain faiths do nothing to impose on others. So stick your head back where thevsun doesn't shine. The world is better off without your totalitarian kind.

      1. Dr. Zerpersande's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande

        You are upset with me for saying that I DO NOT CARE if laws passed infringe on expression of religious belief? (Note: ‘Not caring’ and ‘actively campaigning for’ such actions are very different.)

        YOU are upset with ME for saying I don’t CARE if they’re oppressed?

        This coming from the guy that said he was 100% serious about forcing Muslim women to go completely naked??.

    2. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      And what about christians screwing themselves with crucifixes? I bet they'll keep doing it anyway. Did y'all see that? Flugo just nodded in agreement, before falling off her barstool, again.

  1. Rev Nolan's Avatar Rev Nolan

    I think the anti-burkini legislation is a direct hit to deprive Muslim women from practicing their religion. If you want secular culture, you have to respect all cultures… even the nudist lifestyle. I support allowing women to wear their burkini just as much as I support the rights of those who practice the nudist lifestyle. Let them wear their burkinis! Let us nudists wear nothing!

    1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

      Just how religious are the people in France? Like many people in Europe I thought they have become enlighten and realized religion is just a con and a way of controlling the people.

    2. Keith Allen Steele Eash's Avatar Keith Allen Steele Eash

      No you do not. Not when Islam works exactly at eroding a country's culture. You ought to know how they operate. Just like communists and liberals. Nibble away until you have the people enslaved.

      1. Leroy Lavare Davis's Avatar Leroy Lavare Davis

        What you just said is so untrue, if that were the case America would been an Islamic state by now, because Muslim been in this country for over 100 years, you're afraid & only going on what the television has told you

        1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

          Leroy, you ought to see the Muslim porn flicks I watch on my TV. I've even got one called Doing It In The Mosque With Muhammad. That would change your time!

  1. Leroy Lavare Davis's Avatar Leroy Lavare Davis

    Mormons don't consider themselves Christian at all.

  1. Rev. Laurie G. Cleveland RN's Avatar Rev. Laurie G. Cleveland RN

    I saw a woman withba bathing suit underneath a long sleeved, long dress and head scarf at a pool where I was staying. Shevhad 3 little girls in the pool and we got to talking. Her husband was okder tgan she was and it was HOT out. He had sandles, shorts and a short sleeved shirt. The woman told me how she loved to swim as a child. Whenever he would circle by, we would have to pretend that we weren't talking. If she had to save any one of her girls, particularly the littlest one, she could drown along with the baby or other kids. I woyld hav we had to do the honors as I have done too many times in my life. I had a one piece sarong style suit. It was modest. There's no reason why they have to wear this ridiculous balony anywhere. Modesty is taught from the beginning. All of those girls had one piece bathing suits on. The only one with bright colors was the baby. That man was a jerk. He didn't want his wife conversing with anybody and in America, she has that right. Her husband was jealous and God oe Allah help her when she went inside. He sure as hell wouldn't jump into rhe pool to save one of his kids. These dresses are dangerous. You can be modest in a swim dress or a one piece. All of that extra gear weights you down. I have saved enough kuds in my life as well as a few adults. The men need to stop being so damned jealous. That is the root of the problem. It has nothing to do with so called modesty.

    1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

      @Rev. Laurie G. Cleveland RN Did you ask her if it was her choice to wear a long dress and a head scarf? Or are you imposing your own personal beliefs resulting in conformational bias? I have worked in the Middle East and if you talk to the women they will tell you it is their choice to wear a burqa. I talked to American women who where raised as devote Catholic and made the personal choice to wear a burqa including a head scarf with only eye slits.

      I watched as these women and their daughters would swim in the pool or in the ocean without any difficulty while wearing a burqa right next to women who are wearing the skimpiest bikini. (Some skimpy bikini women in my opinion needed a larger bikini, but that's another story.)

      The one thing all of these American women told me is when I return to American be sure to tell everyone that wearing a burqa is a choice they voluntarily made. They were not pressured or forced by their husbands or by religion. Some women switched to wearing burqas because they were offended by all of the men who would whistle or ogle them. They found when they wear a burqa the ogling and whistling immediately stopped. (Something they prefer.)

      @Rev. Laurie G. Cleveland RN please STOP spreading stories about women who were burqas which are not true.

  1. CB Cuff's Avatar CB Cuff

    "It's a sign of separatism and of the submission of women, the opposite of our values and our constitution," insists controversial right-wing leader Marine La Pen. "This is how Islamist fundamentalists take over. Victories involving food or clothing may seem innocuous, but are very grave." So, how would the French describe the 'moral value' of string bikinis and banana hammocks? Yes, I understand it is all about oppression and not about morality.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    It's about time those Muslim women replaced their burkinis with bikinis. They are atleast a century back in time. They need to start catching up with the rest of the world. They're apparently too lame brain to do it on their own, and the French are just helping them along the way. As soon as they realize how good it feels, they'll be streaking in no time, and change their interpretation of their old ways to suit their current desires, just like they do in christianity.

    1. Leroy Lavare Davis's Avatar Leroy Lavare Davis

      First, they do not need to catch up to the rest of the world, the world need to catch up to them. They're following the laws of their God. But Christians want to be followers of worldly trends & that's why Christianity is the worst religion to be apart of. PERIOD!!!

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        Leroy, atleast I agree with you that christianity totally sucks!

      2. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        Truthfully Leroy, I don't think there's a bad religion. Whatever one someone belongs to, and believes in wholeheartedly, is good for that person. I only have a problem with people preaching their beliefs to others, and publicly displaying their religions when they go against the flow of the societies in which they live. They ought to keep it to themselves, and like minded members of their own traditions, and covens, like we do in Wicca.

        1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

          If they want to go swimming in their burkinis they ought to put in a pool at their mosque, and go swimming with eachother. When in Rome, do as the Romans. Don't go against the society in which you live, unless you want to be treated as an outcast.

      3. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        Leroy, maybe it's their god who needs to catch up with the world. It's not like he's running a monopoly! There's a vast array of gods to choose from....and goddesses! They can ditch that old god anytime.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    I've heard that French women don't use under arm deodorant, or shave under their arms. I've also heard that French men like strong flavors. Go figure.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    Douglas, the French people are only afraid of being attacked by the gargoyles at Notre Dame cathedral, so they put on a good show in public, to please the Roman Catholic Church.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    Douglas, I'm sure the French must do something religiously.

  1. Morgan Constance Di Lieto's Avatar Morgan Constance Di Lieto

    Frankly, nobody (state, religion, society, or individuals) should be telling women what they can and cannot wear. If a woman wants to be fully covered on the beach for whatever reason, why should she not be able to? If she wants to wear a bikini or go topless, that's her business. If the French state believes that certain people should not be alllowed to wear particular items of clothing, then they are being just as oppressive as they consider Islam to be.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Morgan, I think they really only want the pretty ones to take off their burkinis, but they must be all inclusive. They just want those gorgeous babes to be proud of having the right stuff that God gave them. I bet their god and Muhammad want to see them naked too, but are just too bashful to admit it.

  1. Alissa M Clough's Avatar Alissa M Clough

    I'm not swimsuit sized. Burkinis look comfortable. I'm for the burkini, even though I'm not Muslim! Also, people should be able to wear what they please.

  1. John Daly's Avatar John Daly

    Sometimes u just get tired of lawlessness and the occasional carnage, so u start to act. That is all this is.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Let's all get together, and have an orgy!

  1. Takaya Kovani Sweeney's Avatar Takaya Kovani Sweeney

    Um, what is the bathing suit doing to anyone else? But boobs everywhere is okay?!? Are they going to ban divers suits next?

    It’s like forcing shy kids/people to rip off the T-shirt they wore over their swimsuits.

    This is stupid.

    Yet again, another case of people not minding their own fg business.

  1. Keith Allen Steele Eash's Avatar Keith Allen Steele Eash

    Comment has been removed.

  1. Joseph Joe Hill's Avatar Joseph Joe Hill

    This is exactly why the Tide will turn against the Republican Party. I feel MOSTLY that is unfortunate, but really NOT unfortunate because of what Religious NUTS believe in their Homophobic and Conservative Communistic Actions being discussed here in this Copied Thread. Sickening. Universal Life Church Ministries · Could gay relationships become criminalized again? With Roe v. Wade now overturned, there is serious speculation that other landmark cases involving LGBTQ rights could be challenged as well. Those fears escalated after the Texas Attorney General spoke about the possibility of Lawrence v. Texas getting overturned and teased the return of so-called “sodomy” laws that were used to criminalize gay sex (as well as other “non-procreative” sex acts, like oral sex – even within straight couples). In an interview, the attorney general was asked directly about the ruling. “If the state legislature passed the same law that Lawrence overturned on sodomy, you wouldn't have any problem then defending that and taking that case back to the Supreme Court?" the interviewer asked. In his response, the attorney general indicated that he would defend a new sodomy law: "Yeah, look my job is to defend state law and I'll continue to do that… This is all new territory for us so I'd have to how the Legislature was laid out and whether we thought we could defend it. Ultimately, if it's constitutional, we're going to go defend it.” Rumors about Lawrence v. Texas getting overturned stem from a concurring opinion on the Roe reversal written by Justice Clarence Thomas. In the opinion, Justice Thomas suggested the court should revisit a number of previous decisions – a list that included the Lawrence ruling, as well as Obergefell v. Hodges, the decision that legalized gay marriage nationwide. While it’s unclear how immediate challenges to these landmark rulings might be, activists are sounding the alarm: rights that many in the LGBTQ community viewed as rock-solid are all of a sudden under threat. Now, Me. The Majority of people including Middle of the Road Republicans are NOT for turning over of Laws that established Freedom of Love. Just as in the Obama Election of 2008 when 75% of the people that voted for him were WHITE! Right Wing Republicans are in for a wake up call AGAIN! They keep closing the doors to their house and Heart in FEAR of what is being Preached to them from Many Pulpits. Sickening they have not learned yet, and have not fully let the Love of Jesus into their Hearts. The Republicans are free using the term Communist, and rightfully so, in description of of Democrats. But, Planning already plans such as those outlined in the comments above by Universal Life shows who also are Communists. We are entering into a Galactic Federation where there are ALL kinds of people, Animals, and ways of life different from ours. How can we be a part of them with Laws that are against Love? Do they just decide to destroy us? To let us start over and MAYBE get back to this point with better Common Sense?

  1. Lady Celynia's Avatar Lady Celynia

    Clothing should not be legislated by the government, religion, family or the spouse. One should wear what makes one happy. There are many areas in which government and religion should (finally) butt out.

  1. David Bartlett's Avatar David Bartlett

    So will they also ban Sikh men from wearing a turban? Or how about those of us who prefer not to get skin cancer and recognize the fact that "water proof" sun block isn't really water proof? I have had cancer once. Don't need it again so I cover up my body head to toe when outside and that means long sleeve shirts and very long swim trunks and a hat. I cover up almost as much as a Muslim woman would and I'm a guy. France can do what it wants they are their own country but they can't truthfully say this protects anyone's right secular or otherwise. I believe in complete separation of church and state and absolutely banning all discrimination against religion as long as that protection does not extend to protecting criminals. France's law obviously discriminates against this specific religion. Do they also ban people from wearing crosses around their necks in public? Are priests banned from wearing their habits in public? Do they ban Jews from wearing yarmulkes?

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    They don't even ban Jews from drinking Mogan David, and that is truly a crime!

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