Beach brawl leads to a Burkini Ban in Corsica

18 Aug 2016 | Written by Ramya ; Edited by Mansi Motwani

A brawl reportedly involving dangerous weapons like harpoons and hatchets broke out on an island beach in France that injured five and mobilized dozens.

According to reports, it erupted over the garment choice of several North African Muslim sunbathers, who were wearing burkinis.

Following the incident, Corsica became the third in France to ban burkinis as they violate French laws.

In context: Burkini bans in France amid tensions

AboutWhat is a Burkini?

The 'Burkini' is a combination of Muslim women's Burqa and beachwear costume bikini and was designed to cater to Muslims' strict modesty dress codes.

It is a form-fitting yet loose, full-body swimsuit with a hood that covers the whole body except the face, hands, and feet.

The swimming costume looks similar to the traditional wetsuit usually worn by surfers and scuba divers.

18 Aug 2016Beach brawl leads to a Burkini Ban in Corsica

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Wearing burkinis Unacceptable: Sisco Mayor

Sisco MayorWearing burkinis Unacceptable: Sisco Mayor

Mayor of Sisco on the French-Mediterranean island of Corsica Ange-Pierre, Vivoni, told the media that wearing burkini wasn't acceptable in his town.

He stated the people of the town "feel provoked" by things like burkinis.

However, he added he wasn't targeting Muslims but only wants to get rid of "Islamist fundamentalists who have no business on the island."

"Brawl not due to Burkini"

Vivoni earlier denied the Sisco beach brawl was sparked by tourists taking pictures of women in burkinis. He stated, "The brawl was not due to a burkini. Young Corsicans were defending tourists who were peacefully taking pictures of the landscape."

Burkini BanAimed to protect the Islam community

According to Mayor Vivoni of Sisco, the ban on burkini was initiated in order to protect the people of the Islam community from being targeted.

He also added that "Sisco lives in permanent fear", as there were several provocateurs there.

Similar to the burqa, burkinis for women had reportedly become a cultural and political trigger point in France.

Not RacistAgainst Secular Beliefs

According to officials, the burkini goes against France's secular beliefs.

They said it creates tension between citizens, Muslims, and those who have been affected by the recent terror attacks in the country.

They added the ban on burkinis in Corsica wasn't racist but aimed to ensure the safety of all beach-goers.

Clothes covering the face are prohibited in public places in France since 2011.

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Other French CitiesBurkini banned in Cannes and Villeneuve-Loubet

French cities Villeneuve-Loubet and Cannes also have banned the burkini that exposes only the face, hands, and feet arguing that the costume violates secularism and also for sanitary reasons.

In late July, Cannes Mayor David Lisnard issued banned full-body covering beachwear for security purposes, including the burkini.

Shortly later, Villeneuve-Loubet Mayor Lionnel Luca banned the Muslim women's garment citing sanitary issues.

Villeneuve-Loubet Mayor's perspective

Villeneuve-Loubet Mayor Lionnel Luca stated, "I was informed that there was a couple on one of our beaches where the wife was swimming fully dressed. I considered that unacceptable for hygienic reasons and that in general, it was unwelcome."

27 Aug 2016Burkini Ban adjourned by French Court

On 26th August, 2016, the highest administrative court in France ruled that no Mayor has the right to ban burkinis.

The burkini ban in Villeneuve-Loubet was suspended.

However, this judgment was a mere initial ruling by the Council of State; the decision on legalities of the case is imminent.

Mayors will face legal challenges if no heed is paid to the suspension.