Burkini on the beaches of leisure islands – Is this Region within its right to ban it?

To date, no legal text has been adopted to authorize or prohibit the wearing of specific clothing in bathing places. The use of the burkini is therefore not formally prohibited.

Invented by an Australian designer, this garment allows Muslim women to associate water sports with their religious beliefs. It does not cover the face, hands and feet but a large part of the body and the hair.

Since its appearance in France, it has been considered by its opponents as an aquatic version of the Islamist veil. For the LR president of the Île-de-France Region Valérie Pécresse, “the State must now choose, stop dodging the subject and say what the right should be throughout the territory”. Today, the decision to authorize the burkini in the municipal swimming pools rests with the mayors. This has been the case in Rennes for four years. In the case of the city of Grenoble, the Council of State has decided and will soon decide.

What does the regulation of the Ile-de-France Region say?

In France, it is officially prohibited for reasons of hygiene: to preserve the quality of the water and safety: to facilitate the rescue…

In a letter dated June 17, the Île-de-France Region expressed its support for the director of the Boucles de Seine leisure area. The base was accused a few days earlier of Islamophobia and racism after asking a young woman to take off her burkini. Faced with the attacks, the employees deny having invited the complainant to respect the rules of the park. Since a dozen arrests have taken place on the Ile-de-France islands, the vice-president Patrick Karam denounces “provocations”.

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In charge of leisure, citizenship and associative life, he underlines to the manager of the island of Yvelines that “article 5 of the specific bathing regulations provides that in accordance with the wishes of the Region, the compulsory outfit is the bathing suit of bath. Swimming in any other outfit and in particular in clothing covering the body, the burkini of which is therefore prohibited”.

Further on, he adds, “it is impossible to ignore the impact of non-compliance with this regulation in terms of safety (…) the burkini raises a question of safety for the women who wear it since it does not allow emergency services to quickly provide the necessary care to the victims by hampering the rescue operations”.

The Region accused of discrimination and racism

For compliance with the rules by users, the community relies on its Regional Charter of secularism and the values ​​of the Republic.

A position that the Defender of Rights (DDD) does not share. In 2020, motivated by a CCIF complaint, Deputy Defender George Pau Langevin challenged the Jablines Park regulations and considered them to be discriminatory.

According to the DDD, the burkini was precisely designed for swimming and “neither the safety nor the hygiene of the bathers appear a priori threatened”. As for the disturbances to public order, “they seem more attributable to the violent reactions of people inciting hatred against the wearing of the burkini and the religious convictions that it may express”.

An opinion “hallucinating”, judge judge Patrick Karam and the elected officials of the right. “It reveals an inadmissible bias for a minority of Islamist provocateurs guided by the CCIF”.

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Directors of recreation areas called on to ban the burkini

Backpedaling by the former socialist minister in the face of outcry from supporters of the burkini ban. The deputy rapporteur retorts “not having made a decision yet”. His remarks were only a “step” allowing the leisure base “to provide any element that seems useful to the investigation of this case”.

In order to reaffirm “his total commitment against all those who want to bend the values ​​of our Republic”, the Vice-President of the Region will send a letter to all the presidents of the areas in the coming days.

Twelve in number, the Community’s leisure islands are spread over 3,000 ha of nature and 1,000 ha of water. Each year, they welcome more than 4 million Ile-de-France residents.