France's highest administrative court is set to make a preliminary decision on whether to temporarily uphold -- or suspend -- local beach bans on the Burkini, an all-body women's swimsuit that's at the center of a wider discussion over immigration, Islamophobia and security. Mana Rabiee reports.
To ban or not to ban? That's the question France's highest administrative court is expected to answer this week over the fate of the Burkini. At least 15 coastal towns have outlawed the women's full-body swimsuit worn by some Muslim women, saying it breaks French secularism laws. The case against the ban, was put forward by a human rights group who say women should be free to wear what they want on French beaches. Patrice Spinosi is an attorney with the group. (SOUNDBITE) (French) LAWYER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS LEAGUE, PATRICE SPINOSI, SAYING: "The danger could be that from the beach you slide then to public space generally speaking, in the street, libraries, public transport." The ban's supporters say the Burkini is a symbol of female enslavement and is at odds with French culture. But its opponents say banning the garment fans racist rhetoric and is being used for political gain on issues like immigration and security. Lawyer Sefen Guez Guez is with the Collective Against Islamophobia. (SOUNDBITE) (French) LAWYER FOR THE COLLECTIVE AGAINST ISLAMOPHOBIA IN FRANCE (CCIF) SEFEN GUEZ GUEZ, SAYING: "If they want to go to the beach in a swim suit, why not? If they want to use more covering garments, why not, too? That's freedom and that's what makes our democracy strong." Opinion polls suggest the ban is widely supported in France...but France is about to find out if the court shares that view.