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French Police Order Muslim Woman to Remove her Islamic Headscarf or Vacate Beach

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The French ban on the burkini is threatening to turn into a farce as police officers armed with pepper spray and batons marched onto a beach today and ordered a woman to strip off.

Four burly cops stood over the middle-aged woman, who had been quietly sunbathing on the Promenade des Anglais beach in Nice – yards from the scene of the Bastille Day lorry attack – and watched her take off a Muslim-style garment which protected her modesty.

It is thought the woman was given a warning about the dress code on the beach and was handed an on-the-spot fine.

Four French police officers close in on the woman, who appears to be sleeping, on the Promenade des Anglais beach in Nice, southern France

Four French police officers close in on the woman, who appears to be sleeping, on the Promenade des Anglais beach in Nice, southern France

The woman, who was wearing a traditional headscarf and matching top, was spoken to by the officers, who have been tasked with implementing the ban. France prides itself on its secular society and the burka is banned. That has now spread to the burkini

The woman, who was wearing a traditional headscarf and matching top, was spoken to by the officers, who have been tasked with implementing the ban. France prides itself on its secular society and the burka is banned. That has now spread to the burkini

A police officer appears to write out an on-the-spot fine for the woman
Police officers stand over the woman in Nice

A police officer appears to write out an on-the-spot ticket and fine for the woman. Nice and Cannes are among several French towns to have introduced a 38 euro (£32) fine

The woman is then ordered to remove the blue garment. Most of the other people on the beach on a sweltering summer’s day were wearing trunks or bikinis

Another young Muslim mother was ordered off the beach at Cannes and fined for simply wearing a headscarf.

Three armed officers pointed a pepper spray canister in the 34-year-old’s face and told her she was in breach of a new rule outlawing swimming costumes that cover the entire body.

She said the ‘racist’ officers simply wanted to humiliate her in front of her children and other family members, even though she was not even wearing a burkini.

It was the latest in a series of incidents in the south of France and comes after video emerged of armed police waiting for Muslim women to come out of the sea at nearby Nice, and then warning them about their choice of headscarves.

And just days ago, four women were fined 38 euros for wearing their burkinis on the beach in Cannes.

Video has emerged of armed police waiting for Muslim women to come out of the sea at nearby Nice, and then warning them about their choice of headscarves

Video has emerged of armed police waiting for Muslim women to come out of the sea at nearby Nice, and then warning them about their choice of headscarves

Four women were fined 38 euros for wearing their burkinis on the beach in Cannes

Four women were fined 38 euros for wearing their burkinis on the beach in Cannes

The women were told to pay a fine for wearing the swimwear on a beach in Cannes

The women were told to pay a fine for wearing the swimwear on a beach in Cannes

Pictures show the women standing in the water before they were fined

All of the items of clothing made Siam feel comfortable, and meant she was not exposed to the afternoon sun last Tuesday.

What she was not fully aware of, however, was that Cannes was one of a small number of towns that have banned the burkini for its alleged links to terrorism.

The beachwear does not cover the face either, and is worn by non-Muslims who want protection from the sun, but critics claim it is provocative.

On Monday, in a separate incident, a woman was also fined for wearing a headscarf on a Nice beach 

On Monday, in a separate incident, a woman was also fined for wearing a headscarf on a Nice beach

A Twitter user filmed the moment police asked the woman in a purple top and grey headscarf to get out of the water and fined her on the spot

When asked why she was dressed ‘inappropriately’, Sian replied: ‘I didn’t know exactly what was going on, I hadn’t really followed the controversy’.

Sian at first refused to undress or to leave the beach, saying: ‘My children were crying as they witnessed by humiliation’.

Mathilde Cusin, a journalist with the France 4 TV channel who witnessed the entire incident, said: ‘I saw three police officers watching the beach. One of them had his finger on the trigger of his tear gas device, no doubt containing pepper.’

A young mother was ordered off Cannes beach and fined on Tuesday for wearing a headscarf (file photo). She was not wearing a burkini, which has recently been banned in Cannes

A young mother was ordered off Cannes beach and fined on Tuesday for wearing a headscarf (file photo). She was not wearing a burkini, which has recently been banned in Cannes

Then Ms Cusin said the officers went for Siam, was wearing ‘a simple hijab [a headscarf that does not cover the face] around her hair’.

People then started shouting insults at Siam, telling her she was not welcome in France, and that she should ‘go home’.

Ms Cusin said: ‘It was pretty violent. I had the impression of a pack going after a woman sitting on the ground, crying with her daughter.’

Siam accepted an on-the-spot fine of around nine pounds, and her details were recorded on what will amount to a criminal record. She said: ‘Today we are not allowed on the beach. Tomorrow, the street? Tomorrow, we’ll be forbidden from practicing our religion at all?

A burkini full-body swimsuit (left) designed for Muslim women is seen at a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur

A burkini full-body swimsuit (left) designed for Muslim women is seen at a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur

A Muslim businessman has pledged to pay fines imposed on women for wearing burkinis

A Muslim businessman has pledged to pay fines imposed on women for wearing burkinis

‘I’m in the country of human rights. I see no trace of the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity. I am outraged that this could happen in France.’

David Lisnard, the right wing Republican Party mayor of Cannes who introduced the burkini ban in the first place, defended the police officers’ behaviour.

Mr Lisnard said all ‘beach dress that ostentatiously shows a religious affiliation’ was unwelcome at a time when France was a target for Islamic State. He said any dress that might be linked with the terrorist group was offensive and risked provoking people, so risking public order.

On the same day, video also emerged of armed police waiting for Muslim women to come out of the sea at nearby Nice, and then warning them about their choice of headscarves.

A photo taken in June 2015 shows two Muslim women wearing Chador as they enjoy their time with other people on a beach of Narbonne, southern France

A photo taken in June 2015 shows two Muslim women wearing Chador as they enjoy their time with other people on a beach of Narbonne, southern France

Feiza Ben Mohamed, secretary general of the Federation of Muslims of the South of France, said ‘two young women were made to leave the water by the police’ even though they were ‘not wearing the burkini’.

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The video, which was posted on Twitter, shows children crying and shouting as the women are spoken to by the officers. Ms Ben Mohamed has accused the French authorities of ‘shamefully mixing up terrorists with the wider Muslim community.’ She said ‘this type of row is totally counterproductive and plays into Isis’s hands.

‘It’s exactly what Isis want – the mayor is doing their work for them. Isis seeks to make our young people believe that they are excluded, stigmatised, and they will use such examples in their recruitment drive.’

The incidents come after a Muslim businessman pledged to pay fines imposed on women for wearing burkinis.

A French court has upheld the ‘burkini ban’ – ruling that the female swimwear was liable to cause offence and to provoke people to violence.

But wealthy Rachid Nekkaz, born in Villeneuve-Saint-Georges from Algerian immigrants, has said that he will pay any penalties that Muslim women incur for wearing the outfits.

Rachid Nekkaz (pictured), born in Villeneuve-Saint-Georges from Algerian immigrants, said that the burkini ban is 'unfair'. He's pictured here in Algeria demonstrating against the exploration of shale gas

Rachid Nekkaz (pictured), born in Villeneuve-Saint-Georges from Algerian immigrants, said that the burkini ban is ‘unfair’. He’s pictured here in Algeria demonstrating against the exploration of shale gas

He believes that the ban is ‘unfair’.

He told CNN: ‘I decided to pay for all the fines of women who wear the burkini in order to guarantee their freedom of wearing these clothes, and most of all, to neutralize the application on the ground of this oppressive and unfair law.’

The banning of the burkini in France, by the Administrative Tribunal in Nice, has been challenged by two human rights groups.

They argued that the ban on a garment that does not cover the face was petty, and designed to spread hatred against a small group of mainly Muslim mothers and grandmothers.

But judges said the ban in the resort of Villeneuve-Loubet was ‘necessary, appropriate and proportionate’.

They said the burkini was ‘liable to offend the religious convictions or non-convictions of other users of the beach.’

People sunbath and swim at a beach in Leucate, where the burkini is prohibited by an order of the mayor

People sunbath and swim at a beach in Leucate, where the burkini is prohibited by an order of the mayor

BURKINI BANS ARE GOOD FOR SALES, SAYS THE DESIGNER BEHIND THEM

Burkini bans in France have boosted sales and interest in the full-bodied Islamic swimsuit, particularly from non-Muslim women, the Australian credited with creating the design said Tuesday.

The burkini has sparked huge controversy in France, with bans in 15 towns in the country’s southeast amid high tensions following a string of deadly jihadist attacks.

But Australian-Lebanese Aheda Zanetti, who claims the trademark on the name burkini and burqini and created her first swimwear for Muslim women more than a decade ago, said the furore in France has attracted more publicity for her products.

‘It’s just been so hectic,’ she told AFP.

‘I can tell you that online on Sunday, we received 60 orders – all of them non-Muslim,’ the 48-year-old Sydneysider said, adding that she usually received 10 to 12 orders on Sundays.

Zanetti did not have sales figures for the rest of the past week but said she had also received numerous messages of support – and only one disparaging email – since the French bans.

They include messages from cancer survivors and other swimmers who use her light-weight, quick-drying two-piece garments as protection from the sun.

There are other Islamic swimsuits but Zanetti has said her designs are the first to be streamlined into two-piece swimwear with a head covering.

‘A lot of the correspondence… was that they are survivors of skin cancer and they’ve always been looking for something like this, saying, ‘Thank god we’ve found someone like this producing such a swimsuit’,’ she said.

‘The support I’m getting is somehow about empowering women… I feel like I’ve been a counsellor. It’s a cry of need that they want to have this enjoyment.

‘Women are standing together on this. It doesn’t matter what race or religion.’

She said the one critical email questioned why Zanetti wanted to cover up women in France, noting ‘we prefer our women to be naked’.

Australia is grappling with a rise in anti-Muslim sentiment after a series of attacks by radicalised youth but the burkini has not attracted strong criticism in a country where people regularly cover up at beaches to protect their skin under the harsh sun.

While there are divisions over the burkini in France, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday dismissed the idea of a ban in his country, saying Canadians should rise above the controversy as he called for the respect of individual rights and choices.

Judges also ruled the clothing could be viewed as a ‘provocation exacerbating tensions’ within France, which is currently under a State of Emergency following a series of attacks by Islamic State.

A lorry was used by a man claimed by Isis to kill 86 people in Nice on July 14th, in an attack which took place next to the city’s main beach.

It is among around 15 where the burkini is now banned, and mayors across France are widening the measure every day.

But critics point out that 30 Muslims died in the Nice attack, including women wearing traditional clothes, including headscarves.

They point out how the French authorities are meant to support free expression, including the right to offend and provoke, and say that the burkini ban is utterly hypocritical.

Lawyers for the Human Rights League (LDH), and the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) – who challenged the ban in Nice – said they would now appeal to the Council of State, France’s highest administrative court.

Around ten women have so far been criminalised for wearing burkinis on French beaches this summer.

All were reprimanded by police officers in the Riviera resort of Cannes, and forced to leave the sand.

Four were fined the equivalent of £32, while all received ‘warnings’ that will now technically form part of their criminal records.


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