Ten women have been told to leave the beach at Cannes, and four of them fined 36 euros ($41) each, after a controversial ban on head-to-foot “burqini” swimwear came into effect. The women were all between the ages of 29 and 57, and were with their children when the law was enforced.
David Lisnard, Cannes’ mayor, signed the legislation in late July in response to recent deadly terror attacks in France that ISIS claimed responsibility for, but news of the law just made headlines last week. Lisnard said the garments were a “symbol of Islamic extremism” and “not respectful of good morals and secularism.”
Thierry Migoule, the town’s head of municipal services, elaborated the rationale behind the law. “We are not talking about banning the wearing of religious symbols on the beach,” he said, adding that the ban outlaws “ostentatious clothing which refers to an allegiance to terrorist movements, which are at war with us.”
The women’s fines will be paid by millionaire businessman Rachid Nekkaz because he believes the ban is in breach of the women’s “religious and human rights.” He also established a million euro fund in 2010 to pay fines for women caught wearing full Islamic veil in public after it was banned France six years ago.