Women in the French city of Grenoble will no longer be allowed to wear bukinis to public pools, according to a decision by the nation's top administrative court.
Burkinis are a form of body-covering swimwear that only exposes the face, hands and feet.
They are often worn by Muslim women who want to preserve their modesty for religious reasons.
However, they won't be allowed in Grenoble after the court revealed its decision was to keep France's public spaces as secular as possible.
"The new rules of procedure for the municipal swimming pools of Grenoble affect… the proper functioning of the public service, and undermines the equal treatment of users, so that the neutrality of public service is compromised," the Council of State said, as per Sky News.
The court added that the change in policy was only intended to 'satisfy a religious demand' and so it wrongfully 'derogated, for a category of users, from the common rule, enacted for reasons of hygiene and safety, of wearing bathing suits close to the body', as per Politico.
The court ruling trumps the decision made by Grenoble's city council a month prior.
Following the ruling, France's Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin, called the court order a 'victory for secularism and above all for the Republic'.
Le communautarisme d’Éric Piolle, maire de Grenoble, est définitivement sanctionné par le Conseil d’Etat qui confirme la suspension de la délibération «Burkini» du conseil municipal. Une victoire pour la loi «séparatisme», pour la laïcité et au-delà, pour toute la République.— Gérald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) June 21, 2022
Fatima Bent, from the Muslim feminist group Lallab, told ABC that the ruling is 'a clear step backwards' that will further isolate women who cover their heads and bodies in public.
"Muslim women are not homogenous. [French authorities] look at Muslim women through a single prism," she said.
Bent explained that the ruling comes down to a 'fixation with the body of Muslim women by politicians who want to control them'.
France has a ban on burkinis in the majority of public pools, which essentially forces women out of swimming or strong-arms them into exposing parts of their bodies that they are not comfortable with.
The UN has previously called on France to lift the burkini ban.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesman Rupert Colville has previously dubbed the ban as it '[fuelling] religious intolerance and the stigmatisation of Muslims', as per Sky News.
The cover-all swimsuit first made headlines in 2016, when several mayors tried to ban burkinis on beaches, according to Politico.
The proposals were struck down as discriminatory.
The court ruling would indicate that discrimination is fine if it takes place in a swimming pool, though.
Featured Image Credit: luisa puccini / Alamy Stock Photo.
Topics: News, World News, Racism