The mayor of a seaside town on the French Riviera is sticking by his townâ€™s burkini ban, telling beachgoers, â€œif you donâ€™t want to live the way we do, donâ€™t come.â€
â€œYou have to behave in the way that people behave in the country that accepted you, and that is it,â€ Cogolin Mayor Marc Etienne Lansade told CNN.
â€œIf you are accepted in Rome â€” do like Romans do,â€ he said, adding, â€œgo in Saudi Arabia and be naked and see what will happen to you.â€
Lansade, of the right-wing National Front political party, is maintaining the ban despite a ruling by Franceâ€™s highest administrative court that mayors do not have the right to outlaw burkinis.
Heâ€™s not alone. Several French mayors are also enforcing their bans in the face of Fridayâ€™s ruling, which concerned the nearby town of Villeneuve-Loubet although it could affect cities around the country.
Burning issue of the summer
The ruling came after more than 30 French towns banned the burkini, a swimsuit which covers the whole body except for the face, hands and feet and is worn mostly by Muslim women.
Officials have said the ban on the outfit was a response to growing concerns about radical Islamic terrorism. Last month, a truck rampage killed more than 80 people in Nice, and attackers stabbed an 86-year-old priest in northern France.
But human rights activists argue that burkini bans are illegal and that efforts to outlaw the garment are Islamophobic.