Inside Story

French ‘burkini’ ban: secularism or security?

Tensions are high on the island of Corsica as more French towns issue bans on the so-called burkini.

A bikini or burkini? This is the debate that is going on across France at the moment.

It began with the cancellation of a “burkini” event at a water theme park in Marseilles.

Then just a few kilometres away from where the Nice attacks happened last month, the Riviera town of Cannes banned the full-body swimsuit on its public beaches.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has expressed his support saying the swimsuit represents what he calls a provocation and an archaic vision.

While only a small number of women have reportedly been fined $43 for breaking the new rule, several other towns have followed suit.

On Sunday, four people were injured in the village of Sisco, in Corsica, during a brawl between locals and a group of women dressed in burkinis.

The incident led to a local rally where 500 people gathered in the island’s capital Bastia.

Is this about secularism or keeping France safe? And what does it mean for muslim communities across Europe?

Presenter: Folly Bah Thibault


Jacques Myard – French Member of Parliament and member of the opposition Republicans party

Yasser Louati – Human Rights and Civil Liberties Activist and former head of International Relations for the Collective Against Islamophobia in France

Anne Giudicelli – Security Analyst, and founder of the security risk consultancy firm, Terrorisc