Over the past year, the world has mourned with France as it has fallen victim to a number of devastating terrorist attacks.
One of the most recent occurred in late July, where more than 80 people were killed while celebrating Bastille Day in the city of Nice.
On Tuesday, a series of images showing a confrontation between Nice police and a Muslim woman have also sparked the ire of the international community, but for a very different reason.
— Ed Burke (@iamedburke) August 24, 2016
The images show several police officers approach a woman in a burkini — the swimwear version of the traditional Islamic women’s burqa — and reportedly order her to remove certain pieces of her outfit before fining her for her attire.
“A beach outfit showing in an ostentatious manner a religious affiliation, given that France and religious places are currently the target of terrorist acts, has the nature of creating risks of troubles of public order (mobs, conflicts, etc.) that are necessary to be prevented.”
The 34-year-old woman, who has been identified only as Siam, has said that she was entirely unaware of the the new law, as it was passed in Nice just last week.
As pictures of Siam’s situation have spread across social media, many have argued that they are proof that these laws allow for outright human rights violations.
According to the people and politicians who support the ban, however, it’s all being done to keep the peace — and the French courts, so far, are standing behind them:
French court upholds burkini ban https://t.co/CfST01N1B4
— The Independent (@Independent) August 14, 2016
David Lisnard — the mayor of popular French beach destination Cannes — has also defended his city’s choice to ban the burkini, noting that “beach dress that ostentatiously shows a religious affiliation” is inappropriate in a time when France is being targeted by radical Islamic groups like ISIS.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls explained why he, too, stands behind the burkini ban:
“The burkini isn’t a new line of bathing suit, a style.
It’s the translation of a political project, counter-society, notably founded on the servitude of the woman.”
Despite such political backing, opponents of the ban haven’t given up yet.
On Thursday, France’s highest court will hear an appeal on the burkini ban, which may very well determine the future of the controversial law.