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Woman in a burkini on the beach.
Reuters/Tim Wimborne
“A symbol of Islamic extremism,” according to Cannes’ mayor.
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Citing terrorism, the French mayor of Cannes has banned Muslim women from wearing “burkini” swimwear

By Marta Cooper

The mayor of the French Riviera resort of Cannes has banned women from wearing burkinis on the beach.

The order signed by mayor David Lisnard states that access to beaches and swimming are banned for those who wear “improper clothes that are not respectful of good morals and secularism.” It goes on to say:

Beachwear which ostentatiously displays religious affiliation, when France and places of worship are currently the target of terrorist attacks, is liable to create risks of disrupting public order.

Anyone caught wearing the full-body swimsuit will be asked to change into different swimwear, leave the beach altogether, or face a fine of €38 ($42), the BBC reports.

“I simply forbid a uniform that is the symbol of Islamic extremism,” Lisnard said, noting that the ruling does not ban the veil, Jewish kippah, or the cross.

Thierry Migoule, Cannes’ head of municipal services, said:

We are not talking about banning the wearing of religious symbols on the beach… But ostentatious clothing which refers to an allegiance to terrorist movements which are at war with us.

Earlier this week, a water park in Marseille cancelled a pre-planned burkini-only day at the venue, saying that public order was being compromised by ”extreme ideological positions.”

The secular nation is home to one of the EU’s largest Muslim populations, and has had a controversial history of clamping down on religious clothing, becoming the first country in Europe to ban the burqa and the niqab veils in 2011. In 2015, a Muslim student was banned from school for wearing a long black skirt that, according to the school principal, “conspicuously” showed religious affiliation.

In 2004, France also passed a law preventing students in state-run schools from displaying any form of religious symbols, including veils, Jewish kippahs, and crosses.

In July, the country extended its state of emergency by a further six months, following a truck attack in Nice in which 84 people were killed and hundreds injured. It was France’s third large-scale terror attack in 18 months. The original state of emergency has been in place since November 2015, when terrorist attacks in Paris killed 130 people.