In France, it’s becoming harder for Muslim women to enjoy public pools.
As part of the Muslim faith, women are required to wear garments which cover their head (hijabs) and body (burqas). Therefore, the women are not allowed to go to pools dressed in bikinis or one-piece swimwear.
To beat the heat, Muslim women opt to wear “burkinis” (bathing suits that cover the entire body) when they go to pools. The garment only leaves their faces, hands, and feet bare.
However, cities all over France are banning burkinis. France enforces secularism and therefore bans religious symbols in publicly owned spaces; a directive that has become deeply ingrained in the French culture.
Alliance Citoyenne, an advocacy group in Genoble dealing with social issues, has Muslim women protesting the ban by going to swimming pools while wearing the banned burkinis as an act of civil disobedience.
The group stated that their act of civil disobedience was inspired by African Americans’ civil rights movement.
Last month, seven women in Grenoble went to a pool wearing burkinis. The group now plans to protest every Sunday until the ban is lifted, says Adrian Roux, the head organizer.
The group tweeted: “Civil disobedience of Grenoble Muslim women for public pools that respect freedom of conscience.”
A member from the center-right Republican Party, Matthieu Chamussy, criticized the protest on Twitter, asking Grenoble’s mayor about his intended resolution strategy.
In his tweet, Chamussy stated: “The city ruling is no longer applied, political Islam is advancing step by step, the cause of women reversing.”
The mayor then tweeted: “When it comes to equal access of a public service, the role of the state is to pose clear and just rules for everyone. National solidarity is at stake. Refer to the 'individual dialogue' the resolution of tensions in territories is ambiguous and fuels fractures."