After bans on full-face veils, head scarves in schools and rules about students’ skirt lengths, France’s perennial problem with Muslim women’s attire has taken its most farcical turn yet with a new controversy over the “burkini,” body-covering swimwear whose name is an amalgam of burqa and bikini. As of Thursday, five French mayors had banned the burkini, calling it, variously, a threat to public order, hygiene, water safety and morality, tantamount to a new weapon of war against the French republic. Thierry Migoule, an official with the city of Cannes, the first to ban the burkini, declared the swimwear “clothing that conveys an allegiance to the terrorist movements that are waging war against us.”This hysteria threatens to further stigmatize and marginalize France’s Muslims at a time when the country is listing to the Islamophobic right in the wake of a series of horrific terrorist attacks. And with presidential elections scheduled for next spring and the right-wing National Front’s popularity on the rise, French officials and politicians have leapt to support the mayors.
Ms Zanetti said that was out-dated thinking, because women were the ones making the decision to buy the swimwear.”I think he is digging a hole for himself where women will be purchasing the garment no matter what,” she said.”If they are banning them in their beaches, [women] should be holidaying in Australia.”The Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) last week filed a complaint against the bans.The group’s spokesman Marwan Muhammad said they restricted fundamental liberties and discriminated against Muslim women. “This summer we are witnessing a hysterical political Islamophobia that pits citizens against one another,” he said.
Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced the decision on Thursday in a memo that instructs officials to either decline to renew the contracts for private prison operators when they expire or “substantially reduce” the contracts’ scope. The goal, Yates wrote, is “reducing — and ultimately ending — our use of privately operated prisons.”“They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security,” Yates wrote.