Grenoble allows to wear ‘burkinis’ in public swimming pools

The French government says it is “an unacceptable community provocationl”. The Major of Grenoble explains that “all we want is for women to be able to dress how they want”

Evangelical Focus

GRENOBLE · 23 MAY 2022 · 16:15 CET

Grenoble, France  / Photo: <a target="_blank" href="">Tim Oldenkamp</a>, Unsplash, CC0,
Grenoble, France / Photo: Tim Oldenkamp, Unsplash, CC0

The French city of Grenoble recently approved the wearing of the 'burkini', the full-body swimming suit for Muslim women, in public swimming pools.

The decision, which passed with 29 votes in favour, 27 against and 2 abstentions after two and a half hours of tense debates, is considered by the national government as an attack against the “law to reinforce the respect of republican principles” .

French interior minister Gérald Darmanin pointed out in his twitter that it is an “unacceptable community provocation, contrary to our values”, adding that he has “instructed the prefect to refer the deliberation allowing the wearing of the burkini to a secular referral and, if necessary, to request its withdrawal”.




Regional government to withdraw funding

Futhermore, the president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Laurent Wauquiez stressed that the decision “marks a worrying drift and a real step backwards, it promotes, a total rupture with all the values of the Republic, a sign of the submission of women, a symbol of political Islam. It is the sign of a pact with political Islam. We will not be complicit in this manoeuvre of submission”.

Wauquiez announced that he will withdraw funding from the city. He had recently said that the Major of Grenoble Eric Piolle was “defending a dreadful dead end for our country”,  and accused him of “doing deals with political Islam” to “buy votes”.

The opponents of the decision underlined that if the state backs down on the veiling of girls in schools or the burkini, pressure from French Islam (around 4% of the population) will push for other things, such as the halal diet in schools, or Muslim holidays.

However, the Green party of the mayor of Grenoble defended its proposal by pointing to the religious freedom guaranteed by the state. “All we want is for women and men to be able to dress how they want”, Piolle old broadcaster RMC.


A debate since 2016

The burkini debate has been present in France since the summer of 2016, when several mayors on the Mediterranean coast tried unsuccessfully to ban them on beaches.

Grenoble is the second city in France to allow burkinis in state-run swimming pools after lawmakers approved the changes in Rennes, northeastern France, in 2018.

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