France, the burkini can be taken to Grenoble. The debate on the secular state is reopened

It does not decrease, in France, the issue of the Islamic veil and other traditional costumes worn by Muslim women, but above all the relationship between personal freedom and the secular state. This time it is the decision of the Grenoble administration to allow the use of the burkini, that is, the designed one-piece swimsuit that only exposes the face, hands and feet in public pools. This piece, in fact, is banned in almost all national plants but last Monday the city council of the southeastern city of the country approved, albeit with a small majority, the provision that allows its use in local swimming pools. . A piece of news that has reopened a never-sleeping debate on the subject.

The decision in Grenoble

Following the attacks in Nice in 2016, some 30 French municipalities banned Muslim women from wearing burkini in public places, including beaches and swimming pools.

It is also talked about in the national newspapers, with many people accusing the municipality of Grenoble of having it he betrayed the idea of ​​secularism on which the state itself is based. However, there is still no national law prohibiting it, although in many local governments (at least thirty) it would have been banned as a result of the2016 terrorist attack in Nice. But the discourse on the burkini fits into a more general context of rules against the use of symbols reminiscent of faith religious, especially Islamic.
In the municipality of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, the initiative to allow the use of this particular dress in public swimming pools was presented by an association of Muslim citizens who, three years ago, organized demonstrations and ” acts of civil disobedience “against a definite prohibition”discriminatory towards the Muslim women “. Later, the mayor of the Greens, Eric Piolle, at the head of a large left-wing coalition, also supported this campaign, arguing that the proposal does not specifically address the Burqini, but those who defined “.absurd restrictions“, As the rule that requires men to wear shorts and tight.
For this reason, with the new provision, approved with justice 29 votes in favor, 27 against and two abstentionswhich goes to the public swimming pools of Grenoble you can “put on whatever you want”, Piolle told RMC, but also not to wear it: women will be able to wear the burkini and swim topless. A measure that, however, leaves many unhappy, even among the members of the Green Party itself.

The controversy

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Grenoble City Council, in the south-east of France, has approved a measure that allows women to wear burkini in the city’s public swimming pools.

After the Council of State rejected the bans of the approximately 30 municipalities that in 2016 had banned the use of burkini on the beach and in swimming pools, for fear of possible new Islamic terrorist attacks, in 2019 the city of Rennesthe capital of Brittany, was the Before in France ad authorize However officially use, like any type of swimsuit in public swimming pools. The provision that in Grenoble now allows Muslim women to take it to the city’s plants, however, was widely disputed: the former mayor, Alain Carignon, of the center, has proposed to organize a popular referendum to review the decision because, according to him, the city council cannot ‘force’ a provision on such a sensitive issue, while the president of the government of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, the conservative Laurent Wauquiez, has threatened to cut funds in the city, accusing the Common. violate the principles of the secular state for win the votes of the Muslim community. But criticism came even from Emmanuel Macron’s presidential office: a spokesman for Radio J, in fact, stated that Piolle “does not seem to realize the harm he is doing to our Republican values” and that with this provision is “supporting”. religion – based political ideas “.

Ideological and security reasons

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In France, a number of laws prohibit the public display of religious symbols. In particular, the debate over the Islamic veil worn by women is very heated

France, as has been said, is a strongly secular country and over the years everything has been adopted set of laws to “limit” the use of particular clothing brought for religious reasons. Some of them, like the hijab or the burqa, have been the subject of numerous discussions on, in particular, security issues related to the Islamist-inspired terrorist attacks that have hit the transalpine nation on several occasions. Since 2010, for example, the government has banned the public use of veils covering the face, such as the niqab, which exposes the eyes, while recently even the hijab would be banned from underage girls in all public places, including sports centers. However, there is no specific ban on the burqini, although many French people consider it a piece that does not respect women’s rights, seeing it exclusively as a religious symbol rather than as a disguise from the bathroom. And there is no single definition, so much so that in the past some women have retired from the beaches of Cannes just because under the classic one-piece swimsuit they wore T-shirts and pants and wore a cap on their head. What French purists profess is a far-fetched view of the ‘sacred’ in the French republic of the ‘Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité’, of the emancipated woman free from the traditional limitations of the faith, which however she does not take into account. note the most important: the will of the woman herself.

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