The mayor of a seaside town on the French Riviera is sticking by his town’s burkini ban, telling beachgoers, “if you don’t want to live the way we do, don’t come.”
“You have to behave in the way that people behave in the country that accepted you, and that is it,” Cogolin Mayor Marc Etienne Lansade told CNN.
“If you are accepted in Rome — do like Romans do,” he said, adding, “go in Saudi Arabia and be naked and see what will happen to you.”
Lansade, of the right-wing National Front political party, is maintaining the ban despite a ruling by France’s highest administrative court that mayors do not have the right to outlaw burkinis.
He’s not alone. Several French mayors are also enforcing their bans in the face of Friday’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.