Amidst a massive heatwave breaking out across western Europe, two swimming pools in France shut down after several Muslim women went swimming in full-body burkini swimsuits.
The Guardian reports that seven women clad in burkinis, accompanied by activists from the Alliance Citoyenne rights group, had gone to the pools in Grenoble on Sunday to demand the right to swim, challenging the city's ban on the bathing suits worn by Muslim women.
The women were calling upon the pools, which require men to wear swim briefs and women to wear bikinis or one-piece swimsuits, to also accommodate people who want to wear burkinis.
According to a statement the town hall gave to The Guardian, lifeguards at the pools asked for the shutdown because “they are there to maintain safety and they can’t do that when they have to worry about the crowds.” The statement added, “We are working towards a positive solution.”
France — which, according to The Guardian has the largest Muslim population in Europe — first banned the full veil from being worn in public spaces in 2011, and the European court of human rights upheld the ban in 2014, despite arguments that such a ban would breach religious freedom.
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