French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve warned
against stigmatising Muslims,
as a furore over the
banning of burkinis grew with the emergence of
pictures showing police surrounding a veiled
woman on a beach.
“The implementation of secularism, and the option
of adopting such decrees must not lead to
stigmatisation or the creation of hostility between
French people,” said Cazeneuve on Wednesday,
after a meeting with the head of the French Council
of the Muslim Faith (CFCM).
Dozens of French towns and villages, mostly on
the Cote d’Azur, have banned beachwear that
“conspicuously” shows a person’s religion, a
measure aimed at the full-body swimsuit dubbed
‘burkini’ but which has also been used against
women wearing long clothes and a headscarf.
CFCM president Anouar Kbibech requested an
urgent meeting with Cazeneuve after pictures
emerged of a veiled woman sitting on a beach in
Nice removing her tunic, watched by four
The images, which went viral on social media,
were interpreted as showing the woman being
pressured by police into removing the garment.
Nice mayor’s office, however, denied she had been
forced to remove clothing, telling AFP that the
woman was showing police the swimsuit she was
wearing under her tunic, over a pair of leggings,
when the picture was taken.
The police issued her with a fine and she then left
the beach, the officials added.