The mayor of a Corsican village has banned burkinis (burka-bikini hybrids designed for Muslim women) after a violent clash broke out on an island beach when locals began taking pictures of the full-body swimsuit’s wearers.
According to The Guardian, four people, one a pregnant woman, were injured during the brawl when those wearing the burkini objected to having their pictures taken.
Following the clash, Sisco Mayor Ange-Pierre Vivoni said he was implementing the ban in order to keep the town’s Muslim population safe.
“I want to protect the population, notably my area’s Muslim population because I think that they are the main victims of these extremist provocations,” said Vivoni.
Corsica is now the third French city to outlaw the burkini. Cannes, a resort town in France and home to the eponymous Film Festival, was the first to implement the ban.
David Lisnard, mayor of the French Riviera town, enacted the law in order to limit “beachwear ostentatiously showing a religious affiliation while France and places of religious significance are the target of terror attacks,” according to the Independent.
Lisnard said the decree is intended to secularize his city’s beaches.
“Access to beaches and for swimming is banned to anyone who does not have (swim wear) which respects good customs and secularism,” the ruling reads.
Villeneuve-Loubet, another French resort city, followed suit in prohibiting the burkini — except this time, the mayor citied sanitary as well as religious reasons.
“I considered that unacceptable for hygienic reasons and that in general it was unwelcome,” Lionnel Luca said, after finding out that a woman was swimming in the beach fully clothed.
He also added that the beach was not the place to flaunt your religious beliefs.
“In France, one does not come to the beach dressed to display one’s religious convictions, especially as they are false convictions that the religion does not demand,” said Luca, to RTL, a French publication.
Tensions between the North African community and locals have been running high since the Nice attacks of July 14, when Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel deliberately plowed his truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day, killing more than 80 people.
Banning religiously affiliated clothing isn’t unusual for France. The country also placed a nationwide ban on burqas, which prevented women from fully veiling their face in public.