Seven Muslim women defied a citywide ban to swim in their “burkinis” this week, prompting the French City of Grenoble to close to public swimming pools amid a record-setting heat wave.
A municipal ban on full-body swimwear requires men to wear swim briefs in public pools and women to wear bikinis or one-piece swimsuits.
Nonetheless, the women, who claimed they’re “inspired by Rosa Parks,” wore their full-body-swimsuits and burkas in the pool.
The women were accompanied by activists from the activist group Alliance Citoyenne who compare swimming in burkinis as an act of civil disobedience carried out by black Americans during the Civil Rights movement.
In an interview with CNN, Alliance Citoyenne head organizer Adrien Roux said the group plans to protest every Sunday at the pools until the burkini ban is lifted.
“The big question is access to public employment, to certain jobs they are denied,” Roux said. “Many cannot be teachers in France and other jobs. This is why it’s important for them.”
According to a statement issued by the town hall, lifeguards requested the polls be shutdown because “they are there to maintain safety and they can’t do that when they have to worry about the crowds” engendered by the controversial swimsuits.
There have been several instances of Islamic terror attacks in which terrorists disguise themselves and their suicide vests with Burkas, which has prompted international discussion about whether or not burkas should be banned.
In April, Sri Lanka announced that the country would be banning all face coverings, including burqas and niqabs, following the Easter Sunday Islamic suicide bombings that killed 253 people.
“We are working towards a positive solution” to the problem, the statement read.
The women clad in burkinis were members of a movement dubbed “Operation Burkini.” The campaign was launched in May by Grenoble’s Citizen Alliance, a local activist group that argues the ban on burkinis impedes on the right to freedom of religion and access to public spaces.
The burkini-clad women are demanding the right to bathe and insist the ban is discriminatory against Muslims.
Despite being the country with Europe’s largest Muslim population, France was the first in the EU to ban the full-veil in public spaces in 2011. Then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy argued the veils oppressed women and warned they were “not welcome” in the country.
As a result of Islamic immigration, France has been the target of multiple Islamic terrorist attacks, which makes the burqa and burkini ban a necessary act to ensure public safety.
The European court of human rights upheld the ban in 2014, rejecting arguments that outlawing full-face veils breached religious freedom.
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