To muslimske kvinner i heldekkende badedrakt, såkalt burkini, ble bortvist da de forsøkte å bade i bassenget til en fransk feriekoloni. De to kvinnene var ytterst uheldige, for anlegget blir drevet av en sekulær stiftelse. Men hendelsen vitner likevel om at Frankrike mener alvor med sitt forbud mot tildekking av kvinner.
Det er en viss systematikk i den franske linjen: først forbud mot hijab på skolen, og nå burkaforbud. Håndhevelsen viser at man mener alvor.
The women had plunged into the pool at le Port Leucate wearing full body swimsuits, including a head-covering hijab veil, but were immediately told to get out of the water.
The incident occurred less than two weeks after French MPs voted to ban body and face-covering garments, including the full Islamic veil, from public places including the street.
Under the new law, due to come into force early next year, women face a fine or community service for hiding their faces in public and those forcing women to wear the full veil risk prison.
President Nicolas Sarkozy has described the garment as «not welcome» in the staunchly secular French republic.
In this case, the women at the Rives des Corbieres holiday camp were told to leave as they had breached the camp’s rules allowing only conventional bikinis or one-piece swimsuits «for hygiene reasons».
Police received conflicting accounts of what happened next.
The pool’s lifeguard filed a complaint saying the husband of one of the women threatened him with a bowling ball.
The husband filed a complaint claiming security personnel beat him up.
Marie-Paule Bardeche, a regional government official said: «This is above all an issue stemming from the holiday centre’s internal regulations, in place for hygiene and sanitary reasons.
«Access to the swimming pool is reserved for ordinary swimsuit wearers. Even long shorts are forbidden.» Last year a Muslim woman was banned from wearing a «burkini» at a public pool in a Paris suburb, also for hygiene reasons.
She later tried and failed to sue the council for discrimination.
Police have this year also stopped and fined two women for wearing a burka while driving, saying it contravened road rules as it impaired their field of vision.
The holiday camp where the burkini incident took place is run by a staunchly secular organisation called the «Aude federation of secular works».
Administrasjonen for park og anlegg i Oslo Kommune vedtok i fjor å tillate burkini i offentlige svømmehaller. Byråd Jøran Kallemyr fra Frp hadde ingen innsigelser.